How the Political Climate Could Boost Certain Films This Oscar Season

'The Trial of the Chicago 7,' 'Malcolm & Marie,' 'The United States vs. Billie Holiday,' 'I Am Not Alone,' and 'A Love Song for Latasha'
Courtesy of nico Tavwenise/NETFLIX; Courtesy of Dominic Miller/Netflix; Courtesy of Takashi Seida/Paramount Pictures; Courtesy of TIFF; Courtesy of Netflix

'The Trial of the Chicago 7,' 'Malcolm & Marie,' 'The United States vs. Billie Holiday,' 'I Am Not Alone,' and 'A Love Song for Latasha'

The echoes of the insurrection and a couple of late entries are all shaking up the landscape. The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at how real-life events are affecting the odds of films from 'Trial of the Chicago 7' to 'Malcolm & Marie.'



  • Best Picture

    Trial of the Chicago 7

    Aaron Sorkin's film felt timely even before the Trump-incited mob overran the Capitol. Now, a film about seven men charged with "traveling between states with the intent to incite a riot" feels even timelier, as people debate what constitutes insurrection and what should happen to those who attempt it.

  • Actor/Actress

    John David Washington, Zendaya (Malcolm & Marie)

    The fast-rising young stars — Washington is 36 and Zendaya is 24 — are winning raves for their portrayals of a passionate, bickering couple in this black-and-white drama. Think Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — which won Elizabeth Taylor an Oscar and Richard Burton a nomination back in 1967 — only this relationship battle is set in Hollywood, not academia, and focuses on one couple rather than two. Sam Levinson — who worked with Zendaya on the HBO series Euphoria, for which she won an Emmy — wrote and directed the film during the pandemic and could be up for a nomination or two himself. Netflix debuted the drama for press Jan. 8.

  • Actress

    Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

     The singer turned actress' portrayal of the legendary title character is the standout element of Lee Daniels' latest, according to reactions to its first virtual screening, on Jan. 11. Hulu, which acquired the film from Paramount, intends a big awards push. 

  • Documentary Feature

    I Am Not Alone

    Garin Hovannisian's documentary about the 2018 Nikol Pashinyan-led revolution in Armenia has been dropped by Netflix in light of recent developments: Pashinyan has become the target of an ouster and attempted assassination, with many Armenians now regarding him as a problematic figure. 

  • Documentary Short

    A Love Song for Latasha

    This film about Latasha Harlins, the Black teen whose 1991 killing by a Korean-American store owner contributed to the 1992 L.A. uprising, received attention Jan. 1, when a Netflix-sponsored mural of Harlins was unveiled in South L.A. Ava DuVernay Instagrammed it.

    This story first appeared in the Jan. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.