How to Watch ‘Small Axe’ and Get Yourself Ready for Awards Season


With the past year we’ve all had, any little moments of joy are worth basking in. And on February 28, that will mean watching famous people hand out awards to other famous people for three hours while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make fun of them. That’s right, the Golden Globes are here, so it’s time to catch up on any nominated movies or shows you’re interested in. And, if you’ve be meaning to watch the Small Axe series, here’s how to do it.

What is Small Axe, exactly?

Small Axe is an anthology series from director Steve McQueen (Widows, 12 Years a Slave). It consists of five stories about the West Indian experience in London in the 1960s through 1980s. The titles are Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Red, White and Blue, Alex Wheatle, and Education. Two of the most recognizable stars are Star Wars‘ John Boyega, who stars in Red, White and Blue, and Black Panther‘s Letitia Wright, who stars in Mangrove.

So, is it five movies or a five-episode TV series?

It’s easy to see Small Axe as essentially five movies that have a similar theme. But, they aren’t all feature length—the runtimes range from an hour to two hours. Plus, they originally aired on TV in the UK, which is why McQueen views the project as television.

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Small Axe – Season 1

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“This was always made for television, for the BBC, because I wanted my mother to see these stories on TV,” McQueen told The Hollywood Reporter. “This is nothing new to Europe … All I wanted to do was to tell as many stories as I could possibly tell in that time and place.”

Where can I watch?

In the US, all five films are available to stream on Amazon Prime and only on Amazon Prime. The movies were released one per week in November and December 2020, but they’re all out now for your viewing pleasure. Small Axe is included in the subscription fee, so there’s no extra charge.

What awards has Small Axe been nominated for?

The Golden Globes are known for putting nominees into unexpected categories. (And for just having unexpected nominees, period.) But, a film anthology series that initially aired on TV in another country was always going to cause confusion.

For the Globes, Small Axe ended up nominated for television awards. The series as a whole is nominated for Best Limited Series or Television Film, and Boyega is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film.

But, making things confusing when it comes to the Oscars and Emmys, Small Axe already won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Picture.

Clearly, there’s a lot to ponder when it comes to what Small Axe is, but instead of worrying about categorizing it, just watch. If you have Amazon Prime, that is.

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