The 2021 Academy Awards is going to be one of the Oscars' most unique ceremonies for sure. This year it's looking like theatrically released films are going to be in the minority as many of the strongest awards contenders from the past year have premiered on streaming sites, such as Netflix's Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Amazon's One Night in Miami and Sound of Metal as well as Hulu's The United States V Billie Holiday.
While some Oscar nominated movies have been streaming platform releases in the past, like The Irishman, Marriage Story and Roma, it's never been more than or two per category.
Although cinemas have remained closed for the large part of 2020, there has been no shortage of excellent works of cinematic art that have been released in alternative ways throughout the past 12 months.
This year's ceremony has been postponed from February 28th to April 25th, so now movies released from January 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021, making the first Academy Awards in history in which films released in two different calendar years will be eligible for consideration.
The competition is fierce, but these are 10 Best Picture contenders for the 2021 Oscars.
10. Da 5 Bloods
The first of three Netflix original entries on this and the first of two Vietnam War themed movies on this list, Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee's latest project, coming hot on the heels of his acclaimed 2018 drama BlacKkKlansman, for which he won the Acadamy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
And, if Da 5 Bloods is anything to go by, it's looking like Lee is experiencing a career renaissance after a string of unsuccessful productions prior to BlacKkKlansman.
This war drama, written by Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott and Lee, follows four veterans who return to Vietnam in search of the corpse of their fallen squad leader, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there.
Delroy Lindo's portrayal of Paul is an unforgettable performance in and of itself and demonstrates expertly how endless wars are still being fought inside of people, even decades after real ones end.
The film proves to be one of Lee's most timely and affecting as he deftly connects the political turmoil of the Vietnam War era with today's climate, all through the prism of the African-American experience. Given its relevance and ambition as well as its technical quality, Da 5 Bloods should definitely be given awards consideration.