Over the past year plus, the movie industry has changed dramatically. Due to the unfortunate circumstances heralded by COVID and ensuing government restrictions, much of what we used to know as traditional film distribution reshaped itself. Films big and small moved from theaters to streaming services and on-demand cinema storefronts, prompting many movie fans to set up their first home theater with a projector.
However, if we’re being honest, this was a trend years before the pandemic. Streaming services have gained prominence in the Oscar-nominated movie space since the mid 2010s, with Netflix leading the charge. By 2020-2021, Netflix went from timid and controversial beginnings of a couple nominated films to well over 30 nominees. The initial resistance to streamers like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Hulu having original movies up for Oscar consideration seems to have evaporated by and large. For the 2021 Oscars, Netflix emerged as the dominant force, with the biggest number of nominations of any studio. But it’s not just Netflix, and there’s a lot to watch. Almost all of the nominated movies are available in 4K HDR, and therefore it’d be great to watch them on a suitable projector that will do them justice and provide a real cinematic feel.
So, if you want to make up for not going to the movie theater in a while or simply wish to bring the cinema home, the following movies should definitely offer plenty of incentives.
Here’s a quick look at a few movies to get you started once you have your setup in place. There are plenty others if you want to explore further!
Gary Oldman plays famous screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, aka Mank, during the golden age of late 1930s Hollywood. The story focuses on the behind the scenes happenings related to the making of cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane, which Mank wrote. Also stars Amanda Seyfried and Charles Dance, among others.
Viola Davis leads the cast of this musically-minded drama, which also stars Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away in 2020. The story, set in 1920s Chicago, sees Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, a strong-minded and talented blues singer. And because it’s Viola Davis, you can count on a lot of really memorable acting – and crying.
Stylish and suspenseful sci-fi with George Clooney, Felicity Jones, Tiffany Boone, and Kyle Chandler. The story alternates between an arctic research station and a spaceship returning to Earth, with lots of great visuals and memorable acting to back everything up. Highly recommended if you enjoy a good twist.
Unlike the films above, which are Netflix exclusives, Minari’s an independent release that’s been made available on several streaming services in lieu of a wide big screen release. The story revolves around a Korean-American immigrant family that moves to the US heartland in pursuit of a new life. Minari stars Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, and Will Patton.
Speaking of the American heartland, here’s a film about actual nomads. People who live in RVs and just move around in a free-roaming lifestyle. Maybe they have portable projectors in their RVs? Possibly! What’s certain is that Nomadland has received much praise, headed by Frances McDormand and starring an ensemble cast that includes director Chloe Zhao plus the often strange beauty of the US Midwest.
Another movie that made up for limited cinematic release capacity by going with streaming services. Here we have Carey Mulligan playing a woman on a quest for revenge, supported by Alison Brie, Bo Burnham, and Clancy Brown. Well worth watching for good performances and a tense but compelling plot.
Anthony Hopkins returns in a moving role as the titular father, who’s struggling with dementia and family issues. Ostensibly a simple story, The Father gained acclaim for acting and plot, which is no surprise as Hopkins is supported here by the talented Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, and Olivia Williams.
There are plenty of other movies you could watch on streaming services in preparation for the Oscars, but these will be great to get you started. And it’ll certainly be curious to see which way trends go, and whether more traditional nomination distribution can make a comeback. Interesting times!