The 2020 Movies You’ll Be Hearing About In Awards Season

30 12 2020

Around this time (ok, usually earlier), I start fielding requests for my favorite movies of the year as well as what’s going to be a big awards movie. As I find my tastes diverging a bit from what industry voters recognize at the end of the year, I thought it might be prudent to provide just this list for the sake of utility. I could not help but superimpose my own preferences on the list, of course. But for those strict utilitarians who want to say they’ve seen all the nominees on Oscar nominations morning or awards night, this is a practical guide to the season for you.

italicized = Marshall hasn’t seen as of 12/30
bold = Marshall recommends
* = hasn’t screened, no one knows how it is

Never Rarely Sometimes Always


  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always (HBO Max)
  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
  • Mank (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • News of the World (“theaters”)
  • Soul (Disney+)
  • One Night in Miami (1/15/21, Amazon Prime)
  • The White Tiger (1/22/21, Netflix)*
  • Minari (TBD 2/2021, “theaters”)
  • Nomadland (2/19/21, “theaters”)
  • Cherry (3/12, Apple TV+)*
The Assistant


  • The Assistant (Hulu)
  • The Way Back (HBO Max)
  • Driveways (rental/Showtime Anytime)
  • Miss Juneteenth (rental)
  • The Life Ahead (Netflix)
  • The Nest (VOD)
  • Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime)
  • Another Round (VOD)
  • Promising Young Woman (“theaters”)
  • Pieces of a Woman (1/7/21, Netflix)
  • Supernova (1/29/21, TBD)
  • Malcolm & Marie (2/5/21, Netflix)*
  • The Father (2/26/21, “theaters”)
On the Rocks


  • Emma (HBO Max)
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix)
  • The Devil All The Time (Netflix)
  • The Boys in the Band (Netflix)
  • Rebecca (Netflix)
  • On the Rocks (Apple TV+)
  • Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix – it’s SO bad)
  • Ammonite (premium VOD)
  • I’m Your Woman (Amazon Prime)
  • The Prom (Netflix)
  • Wild Mountain Thyme (VOD)
  • Tenet (rental)
  • The Midnight Sky (Netflix)
  • Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Prime)
  • French Exit (2/12/21, “theaters”)
  • The Courier (2/19/21, “theaters”)
  • Joe Bell (2/19/21, “theaters”)
Boys State


  • Crip Camp (Netflix)
  • The Painter and the Thief (Hulu)
  • On the Record (HBO Max)
  • Welcome to Chechnya (HBO)
  • The Fight (Hulu)
  • A Thousand Cuts (free on PBS in 1/2021)
  • Boys State (Apple TV+)
  • The Social Dilemma (Netflix)
  • Dick Johnson Is Dead (Netflix)
  • Time (Netflix)
  • Totally Under Control (Hulu)
  • City Hall (PBS online until 1/19/21)
  • I Am Greta (Hulu)
  • Collective (VOD)
  • 76 Days (virtual cinema)
  • Through the Night (virtual cinema)
  • MLK/FBI (1/15/21, VOD)
  • The Truffle Hunters (3/5/21, “theaters”)
  • Gunda (TBD)
Palm Springs


  • Saint Frances (rental/Starz Play)
  • First Cow (rental/Showtime Anytime)
  • Relic (rental)
  • Palm Springs (Hulu)
  • Yes, God, Yes (Netflix)
  • The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
  • Shithouse (VOD)
  • The Climb (1/19, rental)

Happy viewing, happy 2021!