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March 17, 2021  | 

How to watch the top films of the Oscars

By Anthony Marcusa

The culmination of an extended and delayed award season is in sight, with the 93rd Oscars taking place on April 25 to honor the best in film from the past year. There’s no shortage of surprises, snubs and speculation ahead of the event, and there’s plenty of films worth checking out.

Whether you want to be informed, entertained or simply get an edge in your Oscars pool, we’ve rounded up the most notable nominees and where to watch them so you’re ready for the big night.

Top Academy Award-nominated films

Mank

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Director - David Fincher; Best Actor - Gary Oldman; Best Supporting Actress - Amanda Seyfried.

What it’s about: The Academy sure loves nominating films about Hollywood. Mank, about the creation of the film Citizen Kane by screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, earned a total of 10 nominations and has been lauded for its visual style, writing and strong acting. 

Where to watch: Mank is a Netflix original.

Nomadland

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Director - Chloé Zhao; Best Actress - Frances McDormand.

What it’s about: This meditative, intimate story follows a woman who, after losing her husband and job, decides to uproot her life and travel the American west. Nomadland won the Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director earlier this year.

Where to watch: Stream on Hulu.

Minari

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Director - Lee Isaac Chung; Best Actor - Steven Yeun; Best Supporting Actress - Yuh-Jung Youn.

What it’s about: The American immigrant experience is on display in this story about a Korean family settling in Arkansas in the 1980s. This portrait of a family follows their financial struggles and dreams, sense of belonging and what it means to have a home. 

Where to watch: Rent on Amazon Prime Video.

The Father

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor - Anthony Hopkins; Supporting Actress - Olivia Coleman.

What it’s about: This lively, biting story about an elderly man suffering from dementia is both engaging and uncomfortable. It’s driven by two powerhouse performances by Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman.

Where to watch: The Father is on Premium Video On Demand starting March 26.

Judas and the Black Messiah

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor - Daniel Kaaluya; Best Supporting Actor - Lakeith Standfield.

What it’s about: This film follows Fred Hampton, a radical leader of the Black Panthers, and his friend and betrayer Bill O’Neal. It’s a riveting story about race, politics, friendship and community that is simultaneously heartbreaking and enraging, especially since we know how the story ends.

Where to watch: Enjoy on HBO Max or PVOD.

Promising Young Woman

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Director - Emerald Fennell; Best Actress - Carey Mulligan.

What it’s about: This stylish film allows for a darkly comic coating over a terrible scourge in society. Motivated by past trauma, Cassandra seeks out awful men in her spare time to teach them about consent and respect in violent and thrilling ways.

Where to watch: Available on PVOD.

Sound of Metal

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor - Riz Ahmed; Best Supporting Actor - Paul Raci.

What it’s about: This curious film tells the story of a rock band drummer who begins to lose his hearing and has to face questions about his future. He undergoes a quest full of hope and salvation after his life is thrown into chaos.

Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Notable nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor - Sacha Baron Cohen, 

What it’s about: A courtroom drama based on events in the 1960s, this story features Aaron Sorkin’s signature fast-paced, slick dialogue with plenty of overt references to modern-day politics. It’s aspirational, highly dramatic, and — like most Sorkin works — a little bit cute.

Where to watch: This is a Netflix exclusive.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Notable nominations: Best Actor - Chadwick Boseman; Best Actress - Viola Davis

What it’s about: A beautifully-adapted stage play, this tale follows four black musicians backing up famed singer Ma Rainey across one afternoon at a recording studio in 1920s Chicago. It’s an at times funny and often intense drama about race, money and fame. It’s also Chadwick Boseman’s final film role; he posthumously won the Golden Globe for Best Actor.

Where to watch: Stream only on Netflix.

One Night in Miami

Notable nominations: Best Supporting Actor - Leslie Odom Jr.

What it’s about: This compelling story tells a fictionalized account of the meeting of four Black icons of the 1960s: Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcolm X. The conversations they share across an evening deal with their approach to civil rights, religion and how to best serve the Black community.

Where to watch: Stream on Amazon Prime Video.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Notable nominations: Best Actress - Andra Day.

What it’s about: A film about the FBI investigating a prominent Black figure: jazz singer Billie Holiday, who became the target of a sting operation with the intention of infusing race into the war on drugs. While the film has received mixed reviews, Andra Day’s stellar performance already earned her a Golden Globe.

Where to watch: Stream on Hulu.

Another Round

Notable nominations: Best Director - Thomas Vinterberg; Best International Film.

What it’s about: And now for something different: This story follows four high school teachers who love to drink. So much so in fact, they hatch a plan to drink regularly in order to maintain a buzz. It’s wild, beautiful and a bit of a gut-check, backed by a wondrous performance by Mads Mickelsen.

Where to watch: Currently available on PVOD.

Pieces of a Woman

Notable nominations: Best Actress - Vanessa Kirby.

What it’s about: A lengthy, intimate scene of a home childbirth gives way to a film about the tragic aftermath and the division that occurs between a husband and wife. 

Where to watch: Stream only on Netflix.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Notable nominations: Best Supporting Actress - Maria Bakalova.

What it’s about: The surprising sequel to the iconic film “Borat,” this story enlists rising star Maria Bakalova as Borat’s teenage daughter as they navigate an America that’s politically and racially charged amidst a pandemic.

Where to watch: Stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Hillbilly Elegy

Notable nominations: Best Supporting Actress - Glenn Close.

What it’s about: This widely panned film follows a Yale law student returning home to his rural Ohio family. In addition to this Oscar nod, Glenn Close was nominated for a Golden Globe as well as a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress.

Where to watch: This is a Netflix Original.

Other Noteworthy Films to Watch

Best Animated Feature Film

Onward: Disney+

Over the Moon: Netflix

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon: Netflix

Soul: Disney+

Wolfwalkers: Apple TV+

Best Documentary Feature

Collective: Netflix

Crip Camp: Netflix

The Mole Agent: PVOD

My Octopus Teacher: Netflix

Time: Amazon Prime Video

Complete list of nominations

Best Picture

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

Minari

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Directing

Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

David Fincher, Mank

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari

Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Andra Day, United States vs. Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami

Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah

Minari

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

The Father

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

The White Tiger

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah

Mank

News of the World

Nomadland

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Film Editing

The Father

Nomadland

Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Animated Feature Film

Onward

Over the Moon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Soul

Wolfwalkers

Best Animated Short Film

Burrow

Genius Loci

If Anything Happens I Love You

Opera

Yes-People

Best Live-Action Short Film

Feeling Through

The Letter Room

The Present

Two Distant Strangers

White Eye

Best International Feature Film

Another Round

Better Days

Collective

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Documentary Feature

Collective

Crip Camp

The Mole Agent

My Octopus Teacher

Time

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette

A Concerto Is a Conversation

Do Not Split

Hunger Ward

A Love Song for Latasha

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Soul

Best Original Song

"Fight For You," Judas and the Black Messiah

"Hear My Voice," The Trial of the Chicago 7

"Husavik," Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

"Io Si (Seen)," The Life Ahead

"Speak Now," One Night in Miami

Best Sound

Greyhound

Mank

News of the World

Soul

Sound of Metal

Best Costume Design

Emma

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Mank

Mulan

Pinocchio

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Emma

Hillbilly Elegy

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Mank

Pinocchio

Best Production Design

The Father

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Mank

News of the World

Tenet

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters

The Midnight Sky

Mulan

The One and Only Ivan

Tenet

 

Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. 

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