Movie theaters still aren't open country-wide, but that won't stop the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has bent its rules this year to stretch the eligibility window until the end of February while also easing restrictions about streaming premieres. While some contenders are still holding out for a proper theatrical release, many if not most will be available to stream before the ceremony. Quite a few already are.


The Trial of the Chicago 7

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Aaron Sorkin), Best Supporting Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Best Original Screenplay.

Long a writer of awards-worthy fare, Aaron Sorkin enters the director's race with his second directorial effort. The film follows the trail of anti-war protestors in the late '60s, and has an expansive and varied ensemble cast, many of whom may face off against each other in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The Life Ahead

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Sophia Loren), Best Original Song ("lo Si (Seen)").

After 11 years off-screen, the iconic Sophia Loren returns in an Italian film directed by her son. Loren plays a Holocaust surviver and former sex worker who cares for underprivileged children in her community. The buzz around the film is mostly centered on Loren's possible nominations, but there's considerable attention around the song "lo Si (Seen)" as well. It's written by Diane Warren, who has been nominated in the song category 11 times—but never won.

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Hillbilly Elegy

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close).

Together, Glenn Close and Amy Adams are number one and two on the list of living actors with the most nominations, but no wins. So news of their team-up alone generated considerable Oscar buzz. Unfortunately, the film arrived on Netflix with scathing reviews...though that doesn't mean the performances will go unrecognized.

Da 5 Bloods

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Spike Lee), Best Actor (Delroy Lindo), Best Supporting Actor (Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors), Best Original Screenplay.

Spike Lee's take on a Vietnam War film was released all the way back in June, but has maintained decent Oscar buzz, especially for its ensemble of actors (including the late Chadwick Boseman).

The Prom

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Original Song ("Wear Your Crown").

Golden Globes Watch: Best Film Comedy or Musical, Best Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman), Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (James Corden), Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical (Jo Ellen Pellman).

Though an Original Song nomination is likely, and the possibility of a nod for Meryl Streep wouldn't be shocking, this film isn't going to be Netflix's biggest Oscar bait. Though, it does seem tailor-made for the Golden Globes' separate Comedy and Musical categories.

Dick Johnson Is Dead

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

Director Kirsten Johnson's offbeat documentary about her father's impending death is one of the most buzzed-about non-fiction films of the year.

Coming Soon

Mank (Dec. 4th), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Dec. 15th), The Midnight Sky (Dec. 23rd), Malcom & Marie (Feb. 5th).

Amazon Prime Video

Borat Subsequent Movie Film

Possible Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Maria Bakalova)

Golden Globes Watch: Best Film Comedy or Musical, Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (Sacha Baron Cohen).

The original Borat snagged a screenplay nomination back in 2006, and it’s possible the sequel might as well. Though it might be considered a bit off-beat for the Oscars, Maria Bakalova's performance as Borat's daughter has generated wide acclaim (and not just for surviving Rudy Giuliani's hotel room of horrors). Expect the film to do well in the Golden Globes' separate Comedy and Musical categories as well.

Coming Soon:

Sound of Metal (Dec. 4th), One Night in Miami (Jan. 15th),

Apple TV+

On The Rocks

Possible Nominations: Best Director (Sofia Coppola), Best Supporting Actor (Bill Murray), Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globe Watch: Best Actress in a Comedy of Musical (Rashida Jones)

As a modern update on the classic Hollywood screwball comedy, Sofia Coppola's latest has the Golden Globes' Comedy category written all over it, but still remains an Oscar contender as well.

Boys State

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

Something like a real-life Lord of the Flies meets Model U.N. set in Texas, this documentary has already collected awards at Sundance and SXSW.


Palm Springs

Possible Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globes Watch: Best Film Comedy or Musical, Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (Andy Samberg), Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical (Cristin Milioti)

The latest from Samberg and his Lonely Island crew was a streaming hit on Hulu this summer, and its inventive plot could end up being recognized with a screenplay nod.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Possible Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

Released in indie theaters right before lockdown, this film has proven to have legs. Expect it to do well at the Independent Spirit Awards, but a screenplay nod is possible.

First Cow

Possible Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay

Are you sensing a trend about Hulu's offerings? The films available there may do better among indie-specific award ceremonies, but like its Hulu-mates, a screenplay nod at the Oscars isn't out of the question.

Totally Under Control

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

The documentary of the year, in that it focuses on one of the biggest stories of 2020: the Trump administration's botched reaction to the pandemic.

Related: Yes, There’s Already Some Oscars Drama Brewing