2021 Oscars: How To Watch The Best Picture Nominees

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The 2021 Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on 25th April, honouring films released between 1 January 2020 and 28 February 2021. The event is taking place two months later than usual due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Like everything else, Covid-19 has severely disrupted the movie industry. Productions have been delayed and cinemas around the world have been forced to close under lockdown restrictions. Release dates have constantly been changing and there has been an increase in movies going straight to streaming services or being made available by video-on-demand.

This has added up to seemingly far fewer movies being released and much less buzz around those have been. If you look at the odds for the Oscars, you’ll see that Nomadland is the heavy favourite to win Best Picture, ahead of The Trial of the Chicago 7. They are amongst eight movies that have been nominated for Best Picture and many cinema lovers will want to see them before the Oscars take place. We’ll take a look at the eight movies and how you can watch them!

2021 Oscars: Best Picture Nominees 

The Father

Directed by Florian Zeller, The Father is a French-British co-production that follows an ageing man dealing with progressive memory loss. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Imogen Poots, Mark Gatiss and Rufus Sewell.

As well as Best Picture, The Father is up for five other awards – Actor (Hopkins), Actress (Colman), Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing and Production Design.

The Father is in US theatres now and will be available on-demand at the end of March. At the moment, in the UK the movie will be not be released until 11 June, well after the Oscars.

Judas And The Black Messiah

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A biopic of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, depicting his betrayal by an FBI informant. Judas and The Black Messiah is directed by Shaka King and stars Daniel Kaluuya, Lakieth Stanfield, Jesse Plemons and Dominique Fishback.

The movie is nominated for six Oscars in total – Best Picture, Actor (Kaluuya and Stanfield), Original Screenplay, Cinematography and Original Song.

Judas and The Black Messiah got a US release in theatres in February and was also initially streamed on HBO Max but has now been removed. In the UK the movie will be released in cinemas on 17 May, but is available to watch now via video-on-demand services.


David Fincher has one of the best back catalogues of any directors of the last 30 years or so and Mank leads the way at the 2021 Oscars with 10 nominations. The movie is a biography of Herman J. Mankiewicz and in particular his development of the screenplay for Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman stars in the title role, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Lilly Collins, Arliss Howard and Charles Dance. 

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In addition to Best Picture Mank is nominated for Best Director, Actor (Oldman), Supporting Actress (Seyfried), Original Score, Sound, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling.

After a limited theatrical release in November 2020, Mank has been available to stream on Netflix since December.


Minari is a semi-autobiographical drama from writer and director Lee Isaac Chung. It follows a South Korean immigrant family trying to make a life for themselves in rural America in the 1980s. The cast is led by The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun, with Han Ye-Ri, Youn Yuh-jung and Will Patton also starring.

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Minari is another movie up for six awards – Best Picture, Director, Actor (Yeun), Supporting Actress (Yeun), Original Screenplay and Original Score. 

The movie was initially released in the US in December 2020, and then more widely in February 2021, when it was also made available via video-on-demand. In the UK the movie can be viewed on-demand from early April and should be available in cinemas when they reopen in May.


Nomadland is written, edited, produced and directed by Chloé Zhao. It follows a woman who decides to become houseless and travel around the US following the death of her husband. Francis McDormand is the star, with support from David Straithairn and several real-life nomads.

The movie is up for six awards at the 2021 Oscars – Best Picture, Director, Actress (McDormand), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography and Film Editing.

In the US Nomadland was released simultaneously in theatres and for streaming on Hulu in February. In the UK you’re unlikely to see Nomadland before the Oscars. The movie will be released internationally on 30 April via Star on Disney Plus, with cinema showings to follow once they reopen in May.

Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman is the directorial debut of Emerald Fennell. The movie follows a woman seeking to avenge the death of her best friend, who was a victim of rape. The movie features an awesome cast including Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Adam Brody and Connie Britton.

As well as Best Picture, Promising Young Woman has nominations for Best Director, Actress (Mulligan), Original Screenplay and Film Editing.

The movie was released in the US in theatres in December 2020 and then video-on-demand in January. In the UK the movie will premiere just before the Oscars on 16 April and will be available exclusively on Sky Cinema, though Now TV subscribers will also be able to watch.

Sound Of Metal

Sound of Metal is a drama about a metal drummer who loses his hearing, co-written and directed by Darius Marder. Riz Ahmed stars as the drummer and the movie also features Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Almaric.

A potential six statues are available to Sound Of Metal – Best Picture, Actor (Ahmed), Supporting Actor (Raci), Original Score, Sound and Film Editing.

In the US, Sound Of Metal was released in November and then made available on Amazon Prime the following month. In the UK the movie will hit Amazon Prime on 12 April and cinemas in May.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

Master screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this legal drama which focuses on a group of anti-Vietnam war protestors who are charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton and Frank Langella are amongst a star-studded cast.

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 has six nominations – Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Cohen), Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Song and Film Editing.

The movie is available to watch on Netflix.

Final Thoughts

That wraps up the eight nominations for Best Picture at the 2021 Oscars. You might need a few different subscriptions and it might not be the same as the cinema experience but it should be possible to see the majority of the featured movies ahead of the ceremony, depending on where you are in the world.

How many have you seen? What do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out more of our movie content!

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