Determining a Film’s Year of Release (While Respecting Historical Context)

Movie Release Year

Author’s Note: This blog post is the result of a conversation between Jason Pyles and MPW listener Dino Ticinelli on Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 217. The “verdict” below does not necessarily reflect any of Dino’s feelings; instead, these sentiments solely belong to Jason. Nevertheless, Dino’s suggestions significantly influenced and inspired the creation of “Uncle Oscar’s Tailgate Party” and its underpinnings. Thank you, Dino. -Jason Pyles

1. All *movie submissions will be accepted. (*Non-movie submissions that are television shows or other segmented series will not be considered for MPW’s Top 10 movies lists.)

2. The year of release will be determined by the first date that a film becomes widely available to a U.S. audience (theatrical release, online streaming, physical purchase or rental).

3. The following are examples that do not constitute a “wide release” and will be disregarded: premier dates, film festival screening dates, limited theater releases, foreign (non-U.S.) releases, and any other system for determining year of release.

4. The Internet Movie Database’s “Release Info” page will be the primary source for determining dates of widespread U.S. release.
(Ex. If proves to be an inconclusive source, the three backup resources are, Movie and

*** 5. The most crucial, linchpin point to this system is the “historical context” of the reality of the viewer actually first seeing the new release film during the year in question. (Thus, the Top 10 list truly becomes personal and subjective because it consists of films the viewer literally saw during that year.)

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

“UNCLE OSCAR’S TAILGATE PARTY,” a new annual tradition:

Six days prior to each year’s Academy Awards ceremony, MPW will record “Uncle Oscar’s Tailgate Party,” a new annual episode whose purpose is to help us ramp up to the Academy Awards and to enable MPW to provide more “historical context” for which peer films are competing for the previous year’s awards.

During Uncle Oscar’s Tailgate Party, we will:

– Briefly review our end-of-the-year Top 10 lists

– Provide “historical context” by discussing the major, “filmic horse races” of the year, comparing the awards-contention films with those on our Top 10 lists.

– Declare which films we think should win the biggest awards (Best Picture / Director / Actress / Actor etc.), and our picks do not have to be nominees

– Predict which films will actually win the biggest awards (Best Picture / Director / Actress / Actor etc.)

– Invite Dino Ticinelli to join us annually to participate in these episodes

And each year the following week’s MPW episode will bring you our reviews and coverage of the Academy Awards ceremony and its results.

Jason Pyles, host
Movie Podcast Weekly

8 thoughts on “Determining a Film’s Year of Release (While Respecting Historical Context)

  1. Okay just to clarify. Even though “The Hateful Eight” was released on the 8th of January this year (UK) and there was no way of seeing it earlier. I am still not aloud to count this in my top 10?

    • John,
      To me (Jason), I believe that your rules (in the UK) should reflect the country where you live. In other words, I would just replace “USA” in my rules above with “UK,” and then you can go with what’s available in your country.

      So, if “The Hateful Eight” was not available at all for you until January 2016, then as a person who lives in the UK, I think you should consider it a 2016 film.

      But for me in the U.S., it was technically released wide on Dec. 30, 2015, so I personally can’t count it. : (

      Whatever you send me for your list, John, I will count it in the tally.

      Thanks for caring!

      • Just Listened to the lastest Podcast, Took me 2 days! . After listening to the bit with you and Dino i wouldn’t of had to ask this question if i listened first!!!! hahahah

        • “Just Listened to the lastest Podcast, Took me 2 days!”

          Yeah, sorry about that. Jason talks a lot. 😉

          Thanks for listening to our extremely esoteric, probably pointless discussion!

  2. Alright. I listened to the whole thing. I see the top 10 list as a celebration of the movies that the podcast has reviewed and/or discussed throughout the year. I am personally fine to have The Revenant discussed this year since that’s the context that it was discussed within the podcast. I think Jay’s rules hold up and while it sacrifices some historical context concerning The Oscar’s it keeps the context of the podcast.

    The new Oscar event is fine. I think it will make the other side happy and it does interest me. I just don’t see the need to adopt the context surrounding the Oscar’s or a revision of the list. Because of release dates and availability we may get some films compared and contrasted that otherwise would not be considered together which is actually interesting in my opinion.

    Man, maybe I’m overthinking this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *