People often say of the films nominated for Oscar, have we even seen these films? 

In 2020, we did, or we at least could have, according to Dr. Kathy Feeley, a University of Redlands professor whose research includes the film industry and pop culture. "Movies were actually much more accessible than before. We all benefited from streaming which likely gave more people more access to see new releases while big studios may be holding back some of their 'Oscar bait' blockbusters hoping for a theater release." 

We can thank the pandemic, she says. It forced the film industry to reckon with the world of on-demand, streaming video — and that's a good thing.

Just as movie studios like Disney and Universal embraced television, so should the film industry now embrace streaming video companies — partner with them, buy them — because they aren't going away, she says. 

Neither are the calls for more diversity in the film industry. Not only did the Academy invite more than 800 new members last year who are 36 percent people of color and 45 percent women, but it also enacted reforms for nominating best picture nominees.

The new standards go into effect in 2024, which Feeley says is a good start. "It's exciting, moving forward. The momentum needs to continue."

Dr. Feeley is available to comment on issues related to the Oscars. 


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