In a year that has made the simple act of going to the movies feel out of reach, it makes sense to list the ten best 2021 Oscar-nominated films you can stream right now.
Much to the dismay of cinema purists everywhere, many of this year’s biggest films were released directly to streaming platforms. Circumventing the COVID-19 pandemic became a necessary evil. While some studios were reluctant to deprive their big-budget moneymakers of a widespread cinematic release, other studios chose to roll the dice.
The result is a mixed bag of Oscar nominees, but they are nominees none-the-less. The 93rd annual Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday, April 25, 2021, and like everything else, it will feel a little different this year.
The Oscars will be a mostly virtual affair, celebrating a strange year in cinema. But before we find out who the Academy decides to honour, here are the ten best 2021 Oscar-nominated films you can stream right now.
The Trial of Chicago 7
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the real-life story of a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The film scooped the nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, landing nods for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Baron Cohen.
Hollywood loves a film about Hollywood, and Mank is no exception. The black and white meta-movie shines a light on screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, the man responsible for writing Citizen Kane’s screenplay. Mank is a hot favourite to win Best Picture, and Gary Oldman is in the running for Best Actor.
Sound of Metal
Anything Riz Ahmed does is worth watching (have you all seen The Night Of?), and Sounds of Metal proves no exception. On the surface, Sound of Metal is a story about a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing. But once you push past that, the film is a searing exploration of the metal music scene, the dynamics of love in a creative relationship and risking your health for your art.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The final film Chadwick Boseman’s career, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, focuses on the plight of real-life blues singer Ma Rainey. While the film has been critically appraised, Boseman’s performance has dominated headlines; the actor is a favourite to take home a posthumous Oscar for his work on the movie.
One Night In Miami
Netflix landed the rights to this directorial debut by Regina King, and we’re glad they did because One Night In Miami is compulsory viewing. The film sets up a fictional meeting between some of the greatest African American cultural figures, including Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Malcolm X.
The latest tearjerker from Pixar wastes no time zeroing in on your soft spot and striking you right in the feels. Like the title suggests, Soul explores how we develop our souls, what goes into making us what we are. Unsurprisingly this charming number landed a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.
My Octopus Teacher
Over one intense year, marine enthusiast and underwater filmmaker Craig Foster decided to follow and document a common wild octopus’s movements off the coast of South Africa. The result is the documentary, My Octopus Teacher, a profoundly moving portrayal of the relationship between a man and his subject.
Produced and directed by Garrett Bradley, Time is a haunting reminder of America’s judicial system complexities. The documentary follows Sibil Fox Richardson, fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year prison sentence.
The latest Disney animation to get the live-action treatment, Mulan, succeeds where others (looking at you, Aladdin) have failed. While most live-action remakes have tried desperately to differentiate themselves from the source material (again, that’s you, Aladdin), Mulan stays faithful to the original.
Fourteen years after we first met Borat Sagdiyev, Kazakstan’s best reporter is back in action. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm sees Sacha Baron Cohen return to the role that made him a household name. Available on Amazon, the movie satirises Trump’s America. Keep an eye out for that infamous Rudy Giuliani scene.