CULTURE

Where to Stream the 2021 Oscar Films

Andrew H. Walker

Movie theaters still aren’t open country-wide, but that won’t stop the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has bent its rules this year to stretch the eligibility window until the end of February while also easing restrictions about streaming premieres. While some contenders are still holding out for a proper theatrical release, many if not most will be available to stream before the ceremony. Quite a few already are.

Netflix

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Image via Netflix

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Actor (Chadwick Boseman), Best Supporting Actor (Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo), Best Adapted Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Boseman, and a nomination for Davis.

Representing Chadwick Boseman’s last onscreen performance, the adaptation of an August Wilson play is a fictionalized take on one afternoon in the studio with blues legend Ma Rainey.

Mank

Image via Netflix

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins), and Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nominations for Best Drama Film, Oldman, Seyfried, Fincher and Screenplay.

David Fincher’s long-in-development passion project tells the story behind one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Aaron Sorkin), Best Supporting Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Best Screenplay, and nominations for Drama Film, Cohen, Director, and Original Song.

Long a writer of awards-worthy fare, Aaron Sorkin enters the director’s race with his second directorial effort. The film follows the trail of anti-war protestors in the late ’60s, and has an expansive and varied ensemble cast, many of whom may face off against each other in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The Life Ahead

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Sophia Loren), Best Original Song (“lo Si (Seen)”).

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Original Song, and nomination Foreign Language Film.

After 11 years off-screen, the iconic Sophia Loren returns in an Italian film directed by her son. Loren plays a Holocaust survivor and former sex worker who cares for underprivileged children in her community. The buzz around the film is mostly centered on Loren’s possible nominations, but there’s considerable attention around the song “lo Si (Seen)” as well. It’s written by Diane Warren, who has been nominated in the song category 11 times—but never won.

Hillbilly Elegy

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close).

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nomination for Close.

Together, Glenn Close and Amy Adams are number one and two on the list of living actors with the most nominations, but no wins. So news of their team-up alone generated considerable Oscar buzz. Unfortunately, the film arrived on Netflix with scathing reviews…though that doesn’t mean the performances will go unrecognized.

Da 5 Bloods

Image via Netflix

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Spike Lee), Best Actor (Delroy Lindo), Best Supporting Actor (Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors), Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Snubbed.

Spike Lee’s take on a Vietnam War film was released all the way back in June, but has maintained decent Oscar buzz, especially for its ensemble of actors (including the late Chadwick Boseman).

The Prom

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Original Song (“Wear Your Crown”).

Golden Globes Watch: Nominations for Musical or Comedy Film and Corden.

Though an Original Song nomination is likely, and the possibility of a nod for Meryl Streep wouldn’t be shocking, this film isn’t going to be Netflix’s biggest Oscar bait. Though, it does seem tailor-made for the Golden Globes’ separate Comedy and Musical categories.

Dick Johnson Is Dead

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

Director Kirsten Johnson’s offbeat documentary about her father’s impending death is one of the most buzzed-about non-fiction films of the year.

Malcolm & Marie

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Zendaya)

Golden Globes Scorecard: Snubbed.

Initial buzz for this lockdown-shot film was blunted by mixed reviews, but Zendaya’s performance and star power means she’s still in play for an individual nomination.

Pieces of a Woman

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Vanessa Kirby), Best Supporting Actress (Ellen Burstyn).

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nomination for Kirby.

The buzz here is on Kirby’s performance and a particularly harrowing home birth scene.

Amazon Prime Video

Borat Subsequent Movie Film

Image via Amazon

Possible Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Maria Bakalova)

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Musical and Comedy Film and Cohen and a nomination for Bakalova.

The original Borat snagged a screenplay nomination back in 2006, and it’s possible the sequel might as well. Though it might be considered a bit off-beat for the Oscars, Maria Bakalova’s performance as Borat’s daughter has generated wide acclaim (and not just for surviving Rudy Giuliani’s hotel room of horrors). Expect the film to do well in the Golden Globes’ separate Comedy and Musical categories as well.

One Night in Miami

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Regina King), Best Actor (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Best Supporting Actor (Leslie Odom, Jr.), Best Adapted Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nominations for Odom, Jr., Director and Original Song.

Regina King makes her directorial debut with a fictionalized take on a hotel meeting between Mohammed Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown.

Sound of Metal

Possible Nominations: Best Actor (Riz Ahmed), Best Supporting Actor (Paul Raci).

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nomination for Ahmed.

The buzz around this story of a noise metal drummer who loses his hearing is firmly centered around Riz Ahmed’s performance.

Apple TV+

On The Rocks

Possible Nominations: Best Director (Sofia Coppola), Best Supporting Actor (Bill Murray), Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globe Scorecard: Nomination for Murray

As a modern update on the classic Hollywood screwball comedy, Sofia Coppola’s latest has the Golden Globes’ Comedy category written all over it, but still remains an Oscar contender as well.

Boys State

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

Something like a real-life Lord of the Flies meets Model U.N. set in Texas, this documentary has already collected awards at Sundance and SXSW.

Hulu

Nomadland

Image via Hulu

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Chloe Zhao), Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Adapted Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Wins for Best Drama Film and Director and nominations for McDormand and Screenplay.

By many estimates, this film may be the one to beat in both the best film and best director categories. McDormand may end up snatching her third Best Actress trophy along the way.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Possible Nominations: Best Actress (Andra Day), Best Original Song.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Day and a nomination for Original Song.

Director Lee Daniels delves into the political life of the blue icon with a stunning star turn by Day.

Palm Springs

Possible Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nominations for Musical or Comedy Film and Andy Samberg (Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy).

The latest from Samberg and his Lonely Island crew was a streaming hit on Hulu this summer, and its inventive plot could end up being recognized with a screenplay nod.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Possible Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globes Scorecard: Snubbed.

Released in indie theaters right before lockdown, this film has proven to have legs. Expect it to do well at the Independent Spirit Awards, but a screenplay nod is possible.

First Cow

Possible Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay

Golden Globes Scorecard: Snubbed.

Are you sensing a trend about Hulu’s offerings? The films available there may do better among indie-specific award ceremonies, but like its Hulu-mates, a screenplay nod at the Oscars isn’t out of the question.

Totally Under Control

Possible Nominations: Best Documentary

The documentary of the year, in that it focuses on one of the biggest stories of 2020: the Trump administration’s botched reaction to the pandemic.

HBO Max

Judas & The Black Messiah

Image via HBO Max

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Actor (LaKeith Stanfield), Best Supporting Actress (Dominique Fishback), and Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Kaluuya) and Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Win for Kaluuya and nomination for Original Song.

A bit of a latecomer to the race, Judas is still finding its footing, but the biggest buzz is around Kaluuya’s performance. Consider him the safest lock for a nomination, if not a win.

Video on Demand

While an unprecedented amount of films will be available on common streaming services beforehand, many are currently only available on demand.

Promising Young Woman

Image via Focus Features

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Emerald Fennell), Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Supporting Actress (Laverne Cox), Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nominations for Drama Film, Mulligan, Director and Screenplay.

Still the topic of much debate, Fennell’s film has undoubtedly had impact.

Minari

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Director (Lee Isaac Chung), Best Actor (Steven Yeun), Best Supporting Actress (Yuh-Jung Youn), and Best Original Screenplay.

Golden Globes Nominations: Win for Best Foreign Language Film.

The tale of a Korean family who settles in rural Arkansas is a meditation on the American dream.

News of the World

Possible Nominations: Best Film, Best Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Director (Paul Greengrass), Best Supporting Actress (Helena Zengel).

Golden Globes Scorecard: Nominations for Zengel and Original Score.

The film follows a Civil War veteran trying to reunite a lost girl with her family, and much of the buzz is centered around 12-year-old actress Helena Zengel.

Coming Soon: The Father and French Exit.

Related: Yes, There’s Already Some Oscars Drama Brewing