Subdued AFI Fest Makes for a Quieter Awards Season – But Look Out for ‘Dolemite’ and ‘Uncut Gems’


Also in this awards-season report: repeat viewings, power ballads and a Oscar Top 13

The AFI Fest opens in Hollywood this week, which in a normal awards season means that this is the week when everything gets completely crazy. This year, though, the Oscar race got crazy a couple of weeks ago, and AFI Fest simply seems like a little more of the same, or maybe even a slacking off of the insanity that surrounded the Academy’s Governors Awards back on Oct. 27.

That’s partly because of AFI programming this year. While studios have often used the festival for gala screenings that showcase their prime awards contenders, this year Netflix’s “The Two Popes” and “The Irishman” (screening as part of a tribute to Martin Scorsese) are the only films considered top-drawer Best Picture candidate to have an AFI Fest gala. Netflix isn’t sending its other top contender, “Marriage Story,” and the festival also won’t be screening “Parasite” or “Little Women” or “Ford v Ferrari” (which opens in theaters this weekend) or “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” or other awards-bound films.

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Steve Pond

Awards Editor • • Twitter: @stevepond