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Oscars Make a Case for Impact

Celebrating Changemakers and their Heroes

As we know, the Oscar Nominations were announced yesterday and it’s great to see an abundance of socially relevant movies on the list. Again, as mentioned in our last piece, most of these filmmakers are not making films to win awards, but the more attention these movies generate, the greater the awareness of the issues they focus on. Thanks to the Academy, this is yet another way to celebrate these changemakers, as well as the heroes presented in the powerful stories they tell.

Here in 2023, seven out of ten Best Pictures Nominees made the social impact list (for the full list, visit the Academy site).  To learn more about each movie and see where they’re streaming, click here.

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Best Picture
All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
The Fabelmans
Triangle of Sadness
Women Talking 

Noticeably absent from this list are films financed or acquired by the streamers.  Flashback to 2022, when Apple ponied up 25 million to acquire CODA at the Sundance Film Festival, and then spent an estimated 10 million on the Oscar campaign.  Both gambles paid off, as CODA became the first film with a predominantly Deaf cast to win Best Picture, and Troy Kotsur was the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar. Oh, and Apple became the first streamer to take home the Best Picture Oscar.

Here’s a fun fact – CODA is based on La Famille Bélier (2014), which you can now see on Apple.  The film earned over 72 million dollars in 29 markets around the world.  CODA was closer to 2 million, but again, it was acquired by a streaming service. Different model and AppleTV saw a nice bump in subscriptions, and more industry cred, after the win.

Social Impact in Other Categories
While the Best Picture category gets most of the attention, there were a number of other cause-related titles that earned nominations, largely based on the performances.

Aftersun (Best Actor, Paul Mescal)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Actress in Supporting Role, Angela Bassett)
Causeway (Best Supporting Actor, Brian Tyree Henry)
Living (Best Actor, Bill Nighy)
To Leslie (Best Actress, Andrea Riseborough)
The Whale (Best Actor, Brendan Fraser)

To see where these movies and other Oscar nominees are streaming, EW has the list and links here.

Documentary Impact
This genre continues to gain momentum, year after year.  We’ve been singing their praises, along with Indiewire and other outlets.  Here are the 5 nominees, where you can see them.

All That Breathes
Still in theaters.  Click here to see locations and get tickets. The film will be available to stream on HBO Max on Feb. 7.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
till in theaters.  Click here to see the location and get tickets.

Fire of Love
Available to stream on Disney+.

A House Made of Splinters
This film doesn’t currently have a home entertainment distributor in America. The film can be watched through BBC’s iPlayer service with the help of a VPN.

Available to stream on HBO Max.

The Doc Snubs
There were 144 documentaries submitted for Oscar consideration this year, which was then narrowed down to a shortlist of 15.  They can’t all make the final list of five Nominees, but that doesn’t make them less worthy, or less valuable in our joint mission of filmmaking for change.  From The Territory to The Janes, Descendant to Retrograde, there are a number of powerful stories that should be seen, and shared.

The countdown to the Oscar telecast (March 12) is officially underway.  All of the nominees listed above are worth your time and consideration. But don’t stop there.

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This publication is brought to you by Cause Pictures and author of Filmmaking For Change: Make Films That Transform the World, Jon Fitzgerald.