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Everything Everywhere All At Once Proves The "Awards Window" Is Dead

For a long time, it was well known within the studio system that if you wanted your movie to get recognized for things like critic association awards, the Oscars, or anything like that, you couldn't release it before the middle of September. Conventional wisdom was that if you released too early, people would forget that your movie came out. Among critics, this supposed wisdom often led to snark about how the age of the average Oscar voter is around 100 years old. It has meant that the fall season is the busiest time of year to be a critic, and there is no room for excellent movies to find a foothold at the box office because you need to have some sort of theatrical release before the end of the year to qualify for the awards. This is why we often get limited runs of films starting on Christmas and then a film going wide at the beginning of January. However, the pandemic has forced a lot of things that felt like they were set in stone with the film industry to change, and with the frontrunners for all of the awards are starting to come out, it's time for the notion of the awards window to change too. The success of films like Everything Everywhere All At Once, a film that was released back in March and is currently at the top of many critic's lists and is an Oscar frontrunner, is proof that the antiquated way of thinking when it comes to the release calendar is well and truly dead.

Everything Everywhere All At Once: First Trailer, Image, and Poster
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan (L-R). Courtesy of A24

Everything Everywhere All At Once is special, and at the end of the day, is something of a miracle movie. So many plates are spinning at once that it's amazing that everyone involved managed to pull it off. The story is deeply personal while also being high-concept and moving. It's weird and out there and contains an extended fight scene where people desperately try to shove an award up their asses. It's not traditional "awards fodder" to begin with, but some were worried that people would forget about the film once it was time to start voting. However, that doesn't appear to be the case, and many are still bringing light to this film so many months later. It's proof that you don't have to release after September to get on the list, and it isn't even the only movie that has managed to pull that off.

Top Gun: Maverick is also not what you would call "awards fodder" unless you're counting the technical awards, but the film that came out in May is looking to top just as many lists and is a frontrunner in categories outside of the technical awards. RRR is a rare Bollywood production that has crossed over and was massive over the course of the year. The non-English language category is usually for slow-moving dramas [we stan Close in this house, but RRR slaps], but instead, we are seeing a movie that is certainly the Most Movie you will see all year coming out on top. All three of these films were released before June, long before the so-called "awards window" opened, and they could go home with some prizes.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Proves The "Awards Window" Is Dead
Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in the film THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN. Photo by Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

This is not to say that the awards season is only dominated by films that came out before the window opened. The two that have made the most significant impact so far are The Banshees of Inisherin and TÁR, with many people giving Brenden Fraser's performance in The Whale a shoutout even if the rest of the film doesn't seem to be making an impact. The Whale and TÁR are what you would expect for the awards fodder, but even The Banshees of Inisherin isn't exactly typical. Oscar doesn't always go for pitch-black comedies because they are so hard to pull off and can alienate certain viewers. However, Banshees, much like Everything Everywhere All At Once and others, are defining what an awards movie means and that it doesn't have to come out in the last two months of the year to get recognized.

It is becoming harder and harder for films to find a place at the box office as they go up against massive franchise juggernauts, but studios are still stuck in the same way of thinking, and it is hurting them. They are still cramming all of the awards movies into the same two-month period, and no one has the time to go see any of them on the big screen. They are still completely ignoring the month of August and most of September because, back in the day, that was a dead zone. There are too many movies coming out these days to keep that limited way of thinking about releasing films intact. The industry is already fighting a battle against PVOD, VOD, and streaming; they can't continue not taking advantage of other months of the year. Perhaps if Everything Everywhere All At Once or RRR take home some Oscar gold, studios will finally realize that the awards window is a thing of the past, and we can, in fact, have awards contenders spread out throughout the entire year.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on Twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on Instagram.
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