Independent, Foreign and Women-Directed Movies are Set to Shine in Upcoming Award Season

As we approach the end of this extremely difficult year, an uncertain moment for film arrives: award season. With the announcement of the nominees for the European and Gothan Movie Awards, we can say one thing for sure. It’s time for the independent, foreign and women-directed movies to shine!

With Hollywood postponing major titles for 2021 – from Marvel’s Black Widow to obvious Oscar contenders such as Dune and The French Dispatch; we were forced to take a closer look into the films that were actually brought to us via streaming, online film festivals, and rare movies that made into cinemas. The result was actually better than I expected, leaving this upcoming awards season not only a very different one but a very exciting one!


A Year For Women

Starting with the Gothan Awards nominations, every single Best Feature nominee was directed by a woman: The Assistant by Kitty Green, First Cow by Kelly Reichardt, Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman, Nomadland by Cholé Zhao, and Relic by Natalie Erika James. Even though most people haven’t seen Nomadland yet, it’s safe to say that the Cholé Zhao feature will probably hit major Oscar nominations, along with Regina King’s directorial debut One Night in Miami, making history at the Academy Awards for having two female directors being nominated for Best Director at the 2021 edition.

Besides these movies, we also had great women-directed films this year such as Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth, which even though it hit many film festivals around the world last year, it was officially released in 2020. The Lodge by Veronica Franz and Severin Fiala was also a personal favorite released online, which I consider being one of the year’s bests. Other movies directed by women this year include Miranda July’s Kajilionaire, Karen Maine’s Yes God Yes, Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, Julie Taymor’s The Glorias, Autumn de Wilde’s Emma, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Old Guard, and Niki Caro’s Mulan.


The Independents Take Over

With major Hollywood titles being postponed for 2021, several independent releases took their time to shine throughout film festivals around the world this year. Some movies are also receiving a lot of Oscar buzz, such as Pieces of Woman by Kornél Mundruczó, director of great movies such as White God and Jupiter’s Moon. His first English language film gave Vanessa Kirby the Best Actress award at Venice Film Festival this year, and she is expected to be nominated at the 2021’s Academy Award with Kate Winslet, who is sharing the screen with Saoirse Ronan in the new Francis Lee’s film Ammonite. Pieces of Woman is expected to arrive on Netflix on January 7 and Ammonite on December 4 via VOD.

And speaking on acting, Riz Ahmed had a great year with two major British releases that are expected to receive at least a BAFTA nomination with either Sound of Metal by Darius Marder, or Mogul Mowgli by Bassam Tariq. Curiously enough, both movies talk about musicians, one being about a drummer who goes deaf and the other about a Pakistani rapper living in England. Sound of Metal is expected to be released on streaming on December 4 while Mogul Mowgli will be released on VOD in February.

A24 is also on the award season race with its upcoming movie Minari by Lee Isaac Chung, which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of 2020. Other independent important films of this upcoming season are The Nest by Sean Durkin; Saint Maud by Rose Glass; Nine Days by Edson Oda; Promising Young Woman by Emerald Fennell and French Exit by Azazel Jacobs.


Foreign Films Online

Since we couldn’t go to the movie theaters due to Coronavirus, one of the best things that have happened in 2020 was several film festivals being held online, which made the tickets cheaper and more accessible to everyone at home. With that, I was able to watch many foreign films that I probably wouldn’t consider watching if I had to move around town to watch them and was surprised to discover many incredible titles.

Two of my favorite foreign films this year is Christian Petzold’s Undine and Srdan Golubovic’s Father. Both have received European Awards nominations and major prizes at Berlin International Film Festival. Other incredible movies that I discovered and that were selected in important film festivals are The Disciple by Chaitanya Tamhane, The Hater by Jan Komassa, February by Kamen Kalev, and Mosquito by João Nuno Pinto. All my reviews of these foreign titles can be found in Papiro & Mint’s International Film Festival Coverage article, along with Another Round by Thomas Vinterberg, Summer of 85 by François Ozon, and more!


Streaming Platforms Are Also in the Game

The only big American film distributor who hasn’t really been affected by Coronavirus was Netflix since most of their movies are directly release through the streaming platform. And just like previous years, the largest streaming company will have great Oscar candidates for this upcoming award season, staring with Mank by David Fincher. The movie isn’t only directed by one of the best working directors in America today, but it also stars Gary Oldman playing the screenwriter of Citizen Kane. Not to mention, as I said before, Pieces of Women will be released by them, along with minor Oscar candidates such as Georgey Clooney’s Midnight Sky.

Another movie that should receive some nominations at the Oscars and Golden Globes is The Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, with a big cast formed by Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, and Mark Rylance. And speaking on Sacha Baron Cohen, how not to forget Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, released on Amazon Prime? Netflix’s biggest competitor is also set to dominate this award season with Borat and Regina King’s One Night in Miami, which latter should be released on January 15.


Disney + should also start its participation in the award season race with Soul, which just like Mulan, is premiering in the new streaming platform on December 25 and should hit major Oscar and Golden Globes nominations.

What are your favorite movies of 2020 so far? Many things have been released but there are still many more to come. Stay tuned for Papiro & Mint’s new articles about upcoming movies and make sure to follow us on Twitter.

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