The Last Awards Season of the Decade

Parasite , which won the Palme d’Or

Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or

We’re reaching the midway point of the blockbuster season, when mainstream films that companies deem on the cusp of being awards darlings are being released. This includes Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, for reference. The waters are being tested, and we are almost in the clear when it comes to awards season. This is the same thing every year. We get the best of the year (or so companies believe) right at the end. However, this year is clearly different. This is the last run of the decade. We are entering a new era: the ‘20s.

What does that mean? Well, since humanity loves fixating on labeling things and putting stuff into boxes, that means we get a new slate. We start to really look ahead with fresh eyes, and see what the next ten years have for us. As for this past decade, we say adios to a whole slew of films that blew us away (and good riddance to those that did the opposite). Yet, we can place all of these films into perspective. Did we really have a sense of this decade with these films? It can be hard to pinpoint what our decade is like with our art in some aspects. Musically, we spawned dubstep and trap music. Television is now streaming and binge friendly. What about films? Are we just about the same-old when it comes to those? We have social horrors, a merge between arthouse and mainstream cinema, and other somewhat signature tropes. But, did we really have a key vibe?

The awards season arguably starts once  Hollywood  hits theatres late July.

The awards season arguably starts once Hollywood hits theatres late July.

With the rise of LGBTQ2+ works, more voices of various groups, and a friendlier approach to indie works, the ‘10s do have a variety of notes that have been hit upon. I would argue there aren’t really any key genres or styles that overtook the entire decade, though. That’s partially what I love about cinema. Hip hop and electronic music have dominated this decade, arguably. With film, it’s tough. You can’t say westerns or rom coms have been the dominant genre, despite there being great examples of both (amongst many others). All I know, is that there is always strength in all of the varieties of styles in cinema.

So, with that in mind, we are in the final stretch. We won’t just look back on 2019, but on the entire decade. We love to reach for the highest ambition like that. I, of course, will similarly be looking at the bigger picture. What these next few months mean, however, is that cinema never relaxes. Even though the awards season is up ahead, we still have had some excellent surprises this year (many definite current contenders for film-of-the-year). So, do we enjoy the year for a little bit before we dip into the entire decade’s retrospective? How does this work, when so many great films are being held off until the end of the year?

Patience, I suppose. We wait until the bitter end to decide how the decade was (as well as the year). And that’s what we will do. With a few months to put all of these films into perspective, we have a handful of weeks left to take on the awards season barge head on. We have festival favourites (like Parasite) to look forward to. We have titles we may have forgotten about to expect. We have a lot of let downs to endure, but many brilliant hours ahead of us. This is a large undertaking. This is like the opening of a time capsule. We reflect on the current best, whilst acknowledging all of the amazing feats from cinema’s recent past. This is going to be exciting.

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Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.