Thanks to shifts in movie release patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the movies nominated for 2021’s major awards, including the Oscars, are easily accessible for home viewing. Here’s how to stream the 2021 Academy Award nominees.
Of the eight films nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards (taking place April 25, 2021), only one, the historical drama Judas and the Black Messiah, is unavailable to stream (at the time of writing).
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Anthony Hopkins anchors this intense drama as the title character, a man suffering from dementia and overwhelmed by everyday life. Director Florian Zeller adapts his own stage play, which takes the unique approach of telling the story from Hopkins’ character’s perspective.
As his well-meaning daughter (Olivia Colman) attempts to find proper care for him, the protagonist drifts through life unsure of the day or the time or who the people are in his home. It’s a disorienting experience for both the character and the audience.
The Father is also nominated for Best Actor (for Hopkins), Best Supporting Actress (for Colman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design.
Director David Fincher finally takes on a longtime passion project, based on a screenplay by his late father Jack. Mank follows Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) as he works on the script for 1941’s Citizen Kane, often considered the greatest movie ever made. It’s a character study of the intelligent, quick-witted (but also self-destructive) Mank, and a glimpse into the studio politics of classic Hollywood. Fincher gives the movie a vintage black-and-white look to go with its period setting.
Mank is also nominated for Best Director, Best Actor (for Oldman), Best Supporting Actress (for Amanda Seyfried), Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Mank is streaming on Netflix ($8.99+ per month).
Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung draws from his own childhood for this story of a Korean immigrant family moving to rural Arkansas to start a new life. As patriarch Jacob Yi (Steven Yeun) attempts to build up the family farm, his wife, mother-in-law, and two children struggle to adjust to their new surroundings. The multi-generational family experiences clashes of values and ambitions, but also the kind of togetherness that comes from uniting against difficult odds.
Minari is also nominated for Best Director, Best Actor (for Yeun), Best Supporting Actress (for Youn Yuh-jung), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
Filmmaker Chloe Zhao adapts Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction book into a docudrama about the culture of itinerant workers in America. Frances McDormand plays Fern, who starts living in her van after losing her job in a rural Nevada mining town.
Fern travels the country, drifting from job to job, as she becomes part of a community of similar nomads. Zhao casts real members of that community as themselves, alongside recognizable actors McDormand and David Strathairn, for a film that is authentic and moving.
Nomadland is also nominated for Best Director, Best Actress (for McDormand), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
Nomadland is streaming on Hulu ($5.99+ per month after a 30-day free trial).
Carey Mulligan stars in this subversive take on the revenge thriller from writer-director Emerald Fennell. Cassandra (Mulligan) sets traps for entitled men who see her as a vulnerable woman easy to take advantage of, only to turn the tables when she gets them alone.
But this isn’t a story about a woman empowered by violence. Instead it’s a stylish, brightly colored film about the institutional power of sexism, and how even a smart and driven woman can only do so much to enact real change.
Promising Young Woman is also nominated for Best Director, Best Actress (for Mulligan), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing.
Riz Ahmed plays a heavy metal drummer dealing with the sudden loss of his hearing in this sensitive drama. Director and co-writer Darius Marder casts multiple deaf and hard of hearing actors, delving deeply into the culture and community.
It’s a story about addiction and recovery, about adjusting to sudden life changes, and about being open to acceptance from a new set of peers. It’s also an immersive piece of filmmaking that puts the audience in the main character’s place as he experiences the world in a sometimes frightening new way.
Sound of Metal is also nominated for Best Actor (for Ahmed), Best Supporting Actor (for Paul Raci), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Sound.
Sound of Metal is streaming on Amazon Prime Video ($119 per year after a 30-day free trial).
Aaron Sorkin takes on the true story of seven activists charged with inciting a riot outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Sorkin brings his signature sharp dialogue and lively pacing to this courtroom drama, featuring a talented cast playing real-life larger-than-life figures. Sacha Baron Cohen (as prankster activist Abbie Hoffman), Mark Rylance (as defense attorney William Kunstler), and Frank Langella (as hostile Judge Julius Hoffman) are among the standouts.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor (for Baron Cohen), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Original Song (for Celeste’s “Hear My Voice”).
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix ($8.99+ per month).