Mark those calendars for the 2021 awards season. The big shows have been postponed a bit this year: the Golden Globes are slated for February 28, and the Oscars will be handed out on April 25. This year, for the first time, films that have only streamed are eligible for the big awards -- no theatrical run necessary. It's a lot to keep track of, but we've got you covered. We'll be updating this page throughout the season to reflect which movies are shaping up to be the big contenders. For more on the season as it plays out, check out the Rotten Tomatoes Awards Tour hub.
 

 

Minari

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What it's about: A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Lead Actor: Steven Yeun
Supporting Actress: Yun-Jung Young
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: In theaters; FandangoNOW; Vudu

 

Nomadland

What it's about: Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a lifeoutside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Chloé Zhao
Lead Actress: Frances McDormand
Supporting Actor: David Straithairn
Adapted Screenplay

Where to watch: In theaters 

 

The Father

 

What it’s about: Anthony is 80, mischievous, living defiantly alone and rejecting the carers that his daughter, Anne, encouragingly introduces. Yet help is also becoming a necessity for Anne; she can’t make daily visits anymore and Anthony’s grip on reality is unravelling. As we experience the ebb and flow of his memory, how much of his own identity and past can Anthony cling to? How does Anne cope as she grieves the loss of her father, while he still lives and breathes before her? The Father warmly embraces real life, through loving reflection upon the vibrant human condition; heart-breaking and uncompromisingly poignant – a movie that nestles in the truth of our own lives.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Florian Zeller
Lead actor: Anthony Hopkins
Supporting Actress: Olivia Colman
Adapted Screenplay

Where to watch: In theaters February 26

 

Promising Young Woman

What it's about: Everyone said Cassie was a promising young woman until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie's life is what it appears to be: shes wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning and she's living a secret double life by night.

Categories to watch: 
Best Picture
Director: Emerald Fennell
Lead Actress: Carey Mulligan
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: FandangoNOW; Vudu 

 

Judas and the Black Messiah

What it's about: FBI informant William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). A career thief, O'Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Hampton's political prowess grows just as he's falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O'Neal's soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) commands?

Categories to watch:
Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: In theaters

 

The Mauritanian

What it's about: Based on the NY Times best-selling memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, this is the inspiring true story of Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the U.S. Government for years. Alone and afraid, Slahi (Tahar Rahim) finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) who battle the U.S. government in a fight for justice that tests their commitment to the law and their client at every turn. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by a formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), uncovers shocking truths and ultimately proves that the human spirit cannot be locked up.

Categories to watch:
Lead Actor: Tahar Rahim
Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster

Where to watch: In theaters

 

Another Round

What it's about: Four friends, all teachers at various stages of middle age, are stuck in a rut. Unable to share their passions either at school or at home, they embark on an audacious experiment from an obscure philosopher: to see if a constant level of alcohol in their blood will help them find greater freedom and happiness. At first they each find a new- found zest, but as the gang pushes their experiment further, issues that have been simmering for years come to a head and the men are faced with a choice: reckon with their behavior or continue on the same course.

Categories to watch:
Foreign Language Film
Lead actor: Mads Mikkelsen

Where to watch: FandangoNOW; Vudu

 

First Cow

What it's about: Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich -- but their tenuous plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a landowner's prized dairy cow.

Category to watch:
Director: Kelly Riechardt

Where to watch: FandangoNOW; Vudu

 

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

What it's about: Never Rarely Sometimes Always is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of social support, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousan Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion.

Categories to watch: 
Lead Actress: Sidney Flanigan
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: FandangoNOW; Vudu

 

Da 5 Bloods

What it's about: From Academy Award Winner Spike Lee comes a New Joint: the story of four African-American Vets — Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) — who return to Vietnam. Searching for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (Chadwick Boseman) and the promise of buried treasure, our heroes, joined by Paul's concerned son (Jonathan Majors), battle forces of Man and Nature — while confronted by the lasting ravages of The Immorality of The Vietnam War.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Spike Lee
Lead Actor: Delroy Lindo
Supporting Actor: Chadwick Boseman
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: Netflix

 

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

What it's about: Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: George C. Wolfe
Lead Actor: Chadwick Boseman
Lead Actress: Viola Davis
Adapted screenplay

Where to watch: Limited theatrical release; Netflix

 

Mank

What it's about: 1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for Orson Welles.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: David Fincher
Lead Actor: Gary Oldman
Supporting Actress: Amanda Seyfried
Supporting Actor: Charles Dance
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: Limited theatrical release; Netflix

 

One Night in Miami...

What it's about: On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhamed Ali (Eli Goree), defeats heavyweight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay meorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). 


Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Regina King
Lead Actor: Kingsley Ben-Adir
Supporting Actor: Leslie Odom Jr.
Adapted Screenplay

Where to watch: Limited theatrical release; Amazon Prime

 

Pieces of a Woman

What it's about: Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are a Boston couple on the verge of parenthood whose lives change irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy. Thus begins a yearlong odyssey for Martha, who must navigate her grief while working through fractious relationships with her husband and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn), along with the publicly vilified midwife (Molly Parker), whom she must face in court.

Categories to watch: 
Lead Actress: Vanessa Kirby
Supporting Actress: Ellen Burstyn

Where to watch: Limited theatrical release; Netflix

 

The Trial of the Chicago 7

What it's about: What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest -- including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale -- were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.

Categories to watch:
Best Picture
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Supporting Actor: Sacha Baron Cohen
Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance
Supporting Actor: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Original Screenplay

Where to watch: Netflix

 

 

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

What it's about: Kazakh funnyman Borat risks life and limb when he returns to America with his 15-year-old daughter.

Categories to watch: 
Lead Actor: Sacha Baron Cohen
Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

 

Soul

What it's about: What is it that makes you...YOU? Soul introduces Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (voice of Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. 

Category to watch:
Animated Feature

Where to watch: Disney +

 

Sound of Metal

What it's about: A heavy-metal drumer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.

Category to watch:
Lead Actor: Riz Ahmed
Supporting Actor: Paul Raci

Where can I see it? Amazon Prime