Image: Photo courtesy of A24
Where To Stream the 2021 Best Picture Oscar Nominees
The nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards cover an exciting and diverse swath of talent and storytelling. Luckily, most are currently available to view from the comfort of your couch. So grab your Oscar ballots and stream this year’s contenders. And don’t miss the Oscars ceremony airing on ABC on April 25.
Both a chilling psychological thriller and deeply moving meditation on mortality, Anthony Hopkins’ searing performance locks us inside the perspective of a man with dementia. Don’t expect a sentimental family story. This clever, twisting drama plays like a mystery with Hopkins’ character trapped in the ever-shifting environment of his own mind.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Editing
Where to watch: Prime Video
“Judas and the Black Messiah”
In this riveting historical drama, Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) plays the radical activist Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panthers, with LaKeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal, the FBI mole who betrayed him. Hampton was a powerful force in the imagination of J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen), who feared the rise of a crowd-inspiring Black leader. Stanfield captures the struggle and Faustian bargain of a man who was both the head of security for the Chicago Panthers and a paid informant for the F.B.I., while Kaluuya’s performance makes the mythic Hampton heartbreakingly human.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Song
Gary Oldman plays Herman Mankiewicz, a hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter with a vendetta in David Fincher’s take on the making of Orson Welles’ masterpiece “Citizen Kane.” Mank, a liberal progressive in a conservative town, uses his sharp wit and intellect as a defense against his own powerlessness. He pens a big-screen takedown of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper titan and political puppet master on whom he models his main character, Charles Foster Kane. Shot in silvery black and white and peppered with cameos and name-drops of Golden Age Hollywood legends, “Mank” is a must-see for classic film buffs.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Where to watch: Netflix
An intergenerational drama and insightful coming-of-age chronicle, “Minari” is the story of a Korean-American family adapting to American rural life in Arkansas. Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) plays a father determined to farm his land and build an American Dream. The family dynamic shifts considerably when his mother-in-law arrives from Korea to live with them. Each member of the family is drawn with such aching specificity and care, and each portrayal so full of idiosyncratic life, the movie feels both revelatory and warmly familiar.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Score
With her epic yet intimate film, director Chloé Zhao is the first Chinese woman and woman of color to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. In it, Frances McDormand plays Fern, a widow who begins an itinerant life on the road after losing her job in a mining town. Unfolding after the Great Recession, it focuses on folks like Fern—middle-aged, struggling with unemployment—roaming the country in search of seasonal work and odd jobs. Cast with real individuals who make up the book on which the movie is based, and shot on an endless terrain of road-, desert- and mountainscapes, the film captures the sense of freedom and community experienced by these “nomads,” along with the profound isolation and anxiety of lives lived without a safety net.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing
“Promising Young Woman”
This dark comedy thriller stars Carey Mulligan as a young woman out for revenge against the patriarchy after her best friend is raped. Surprisingly funny and deliciously twisted, Mulligan’s character lures in men who attempt to take advantage of her when they think she’s drunk. She’s both a sensitive and malevolent force of nature as she vents the rage she feels at a society that victimizes women. The film is a scathing look at a world that inflicts trauma without consequence.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing
“Sound of Metal”
Riz Ahmed stars as Ruben, former heroin addict, now a drummer in a punk-metal band whose sudden hearing loss threatens his sobriety. Directed with careful attention to the audio soundscape, the film pulls viewers through Ruben’s increasingly frustrated experience as his connection to his music (and his girlfriend) fractures. He checks himself into a commune for recovering deaf addicts run by Joe (Paul Raci), an empathetic Vietnam vet who sees a future for Ruben as a teacher at a school for deaf children. In an emotional performance, Ahmed captures the choice Ruben must make between a life in a welcoming deaf community and an uncertain future trying to recover what he lost in the hearing world.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Editing
Where to watch: Prime Video
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Aaron Sorkin is writer and director of an all-star cast in this thrilling examination of the violent protests at the1968 Democratic National Convention. The film follows the trial of its leaders. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Abbie Hoffman, the notoriously confrontational activist, with Eddie Redmayne as his clean-cut, righteous foil, Tom Hayden. Though they’re on the same side, their opposing ideas of how to bring about change drive the story. With typical Sorkin panache, the film flashes between tense courtroom drama, heart-pounding protest scenes and heady arguments. An inspiring and resonant look at the power and limits of protest movements.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Song, Best Editing
Where to watch: Netflix
Program availability may have changed and is subject to change.