Movies released in 2021 seem to have momentum.

Time is not a reliable construct in this year’s awards race. With two months added to the nomination process, conventional thinking has been thrown out the window.

Movies that debuted after the first of the year, like “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which premiered at this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival, have been surging in popularity with audiences and critics alike. And they find themselves competing with films like “Sound of Metal,” which debuted at the previous year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Without the traditional touchpoints like parties, premieres and film festivals to ground voters in what to watch when, the streaming debut of a film has become even more important. “Nomadland” — which was first shown at the Venice Film Festival eons ago but didn’t hit the streaming service Hulu until February — has been surging with awards momentum, while films that became available to a wider audience on Netflix earlier in 2020, such as “Mank,” feel like they are losing steam.

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