Examining the Best Picture Race in a Year of Disruption

Variety | 10/22/2019 | Scott Tobias
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In the lead-up to Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” there was some fretting about how a director known for grindhouse exploitation might handle the summer of 1969, when the Manson murders capped a period of social upheaval. While Tarantino does get around to what happened on Cielo Drive on the fateful night of Aug. 9 — albeit with a twist — the film turned out to be a sweeter, more nostalgic treatment of the end of an era, capturing a moment where everything was about to change forever.

Now 50 years later, it’s only fitting that “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” is part of a field of contenders for best picture, because it feels like a time when Hollywood itself is undergoing a massive transformation.

Year - Disney - Century - Fox - Introduction

2019 will be remembered as the year that Disney acquired 20th Century Fox. And when the introduction of Disney Plus, Apple Plus, and other streaming services shifted the polarities of the business, requiring such existing streamers as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu to amplify their efforts in this competitive arena. The questions of when and how people watch movies is more wide open than ever, and awards contenders have the power to legitimize newcomers or affirm the lasting influence of the studio system.

That sense of instability and uncertainty has been reflected in the field of potential nominees, many of which organize around a theme of disruption. There are aesthetic disruptions, as in the treatment of history in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” or the Molotov cocktail thrown by Todd Phillips’ “Joker.”

Breaks - Marketing - Distribution - Channels - Incursion

And there are breaks in marketing and distribution channels, too, including the renewed incursion of Netflix the year after “Roma,” the tricky proposition of Taika Waititi’s Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” and an insurgent indie...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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