Hollywood's annual awards season got off to a late start due to the coronavirus pandemic, but after the Golden Globes on February 28 and the Critics Choice Awards a week later, a few Oscar favorites have emerged.
The Critics Choice Awards are voted by broadcast critics like myself who review movies on television. We are not Oscar voters, but quite often, our choices align with the winners of the Academy Awards.
The last award of the night went to "Nomadland," after presenter Gal Gadot reminded everyone, "In a year that saw films forced from theaters, the nominees for Best Picture were still able to have impact on us all."
"Nomadland" speaks to our times and plays well on our home TV screens.
ALSO READ | 'Nomadland' review: One of the year's best films
The film's star, Frances McDormand, didn't win the award given by the Broadcast Film Critics Association for best performance by an actress, but she did earn a Golden Globe.
Director Chloe Zhao, however, did win Critics Choice Awards for writing and directing.
Zhao is the first Chinese woman to win in those categories, and she's part of a welcome trend towards greater diversity this season.
The widow of the late Chadwick Boseman accepted his Critics Choice Award for his lead role in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," reminding the audience, "The seeds you planted will grow into forests."
Daniel Kaluuya earned his second award of the season for "Judas and the Black Messiah," playing the late Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.
The film is what one scholar calls "a commitment to Black freedom that might not have gotten told just a few years ago."
Professor Eisa Nefertari Ulen, from Hunter College, says this film and others like "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," "One Night in Miami," and "Da 5 Bloods" are the right films at the right time.
"(They) offer this wonderful opportunity for everyone in this country to learn something more about their own humanity," she said.
In a typical year, the Oscar race would have been run and done by now, but the pandemic has delayed it by almost two months.
This is not unprecedented. In fact, the Oscar ceremony was often held in April half a century ago.