Promising Young Woman, Sound Of Metal, Nomadland: How to watch Oscar contenders in the UK – and why it’s tricky this year

Promising Young Woman, Sound Of Metal, Nomadland – no doubt you’ve heard a lot of buzz about these films as Hollywood’s biggest night of the year approaches.

However, with cinemas closed for the majority of the last 12 months due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, many release dates have been pushed back – so a lot of the films in the running for the Oscars and BAFTAs have not yet been released in the UK.

With eligibility for awards relaxed for 2021, films don’t have to have followed the usual release schedule in cinemas, meaning lots are going straight to streaming. You can already watch some from the comfort of your sofa, but you might have to wait a while to see others.

Here’s where and when you can see this year’s biggest Oscars and BAFTA contenders.

Nomadland

Starring Frances McDormand as a 60-something woman who heads out on a road trip after losing her job in the Great Recession, this is an exploration of the American West rarely portrayed by Hollywood and has already picked up several gongs so far during awards season. It has received six Oscar and seven BAFTA nods – including best picture, best actress for two-time winner McDormand, and best director for Chloe Zhao, for both ceremonies.

Watch: On Disney+ from 30 April, and cinemas when they reopen (17 May TBC)

Promising Young Woman

A revenge tale starring British actress Carey Mulligan as Cassie, a woman who lives a double life by night in order to right the wrongs of the past. It is up for six BAFTAs and five Oscars, with a record Academy Awards nomination for writer and director Emerald Fennell, who becomes the first British woman to be nominated in the directing category.

Watch: On Sky Cinema and NOW TV from 16 April

Sound Of Metal

Up for six Oscars and four BAFTAs, Sound Of Metal stars British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed as a punk-metal drummer and former addict who very abruptly loses his hearing, and follows his journey trying to find acceptance. Paul Raci, whose parents were both deaf, co-stars as the veteran leader of a centre helping deaf addicts.

Watch: Amazon Prime Video from 12 April, and cinemas when they reopen (17 May TBC)

The Father

Starring British heavyweights Sir Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman as a father and daughter dealing with his dementia, The Father is nominated for six Oscars and BAFTAs, including best actor and best supporting actress at the Academy Awards, and best film at both.

Watch: In cinemas, as long as they are open, from 11 June

Mank

Hollywood loves a movie about itself, which is probably why Mank is the Oscars frontrunner with 10 nominations. Starring Gary Oldman as social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz, it’s a black-and-white picture of golden age La La Land, telling the story of the writing of Citizen Kane.

Watch: On Netflix now

Judas And The Black Messiah

In the running for five Oscars and four BAFTAs, Judas And The Black Messiah tells the story of civil rights activist and Black Panther deputy chairman Fred Hampton – a story which has been little known up to now, filmmaker Shaka King told Sky News in an interview, "because it would contradict everything America represents".

Watch: Now on various video on demand (VOD) platforms

Minari

This is the story of a South Korean family pursuing the American dream, who start a farm in 1980s Arkansas. It has received six Oscar and BAFTA nods apiece, including best director at both for Lee Isaac Chung.

Watch: At minari.film from 2 April

The Trial Of The Chicago 7

A historical legal drama starring an ensemble cast including Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Yaha Abdul-Mateen II and Mark Rylance, the film follows the Chicago 7, a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It’s up for five Oscars and three BAFTAs, including best film for both.

Watch: On Netflix now

The Mauritanian

A legal drama based on the 2015 memoir Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, about his experiences of being held without charge for 14 years. The film missed out on any nods at the Oscars but is in the running for best film at the BAFTAs, and Jodie Foster has already picked up the best supporting actress Golden Globe.

Watch: On Amazon Prime Video from 1 April

Rocks

The story of the BAFTAs, this British coming-of-age film starring a group of young women who had never acted before, which is also directed and produced by women, tied with Nomadland for the most nominations – including leading actress for Bukky Bakray, supporting actress for Kosar Ali, outstanding British film, and best director for Sarah Gavron.

Watch: On Netflix now

Pieces Of A Woman

Vanessa Kirby stars as Martha, a mother-to-be whose life is changed irrevocably when a home birth ends in unimaginable tragedy, in a searing story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss. Kirby has been nominated for best actress at both the BAFTAs and the Oscars.

Watch: On Netflix now

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The late Chadwick Boseman’s final film made before he died tells the story of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis). Boseman plays ambitious cornet player Levee and is nominated posthumously for best actor at both the BAFTAs and the Oscars. Davis, who described Boseman as "a character actor trapped in a leading man’s body", is also up for best actress at the Oscars.

Watch: On Netflix now

Another Round

A Danish tragicomedy starring Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round is the story of four friends, all teachers, who test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood. Thomas Vinterberg is nominated for best director at the Oscars, and the movie is also shortlisted for best international feature film. At the BAFTAs, it is up for four awards – including best actor for Mikkelsen.

Watch: In cinemas, as long as they are open, on 25 June

The White Tiger

Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger tells the story of Balram Halwai (played by newcomer Adarsh Gourav), who narrates his humorous but dark rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. It has been nominated for best adapted screenplay at the Oscars and the BAFTAs, while Gourav is also in the running for best actor at the BAFTAs.

Watch: On Netflix now

Da 5 Bloods

Directed by Spike Lee, this is the story of four African-American veterans who return to Vietnam, searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader (another role for the late Boseman) and the promise of buried treasure. It is nominated for best original score at the Oscars, while Clarke Peters is up for best supporting actor at the BAFTAs.

Watch: On Netflix now

Hillbilly Elegy

Based on a bestselling memoir about an Appalachian family and the social problems they faced in Middletown, Ohio, Hillbilly Elegy sees Glenn Close and Amy Adams teaming up to play real mother-daughter pair "Mamaw" and Beverley. Close, who has now been nominated for an Oscar eight times but never won, is shortlisted in the best supporting actress category.

Watch: On Netflix now

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Journalist Borat Sagdiyev is back – and this time, he has a daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova). Even if you’ve not seen it yet, you’ll probably already know of the now infamous scene with Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Bakalova is nominated for best supporting actress at the Oscars and BAFTAs, and the film is also in the running for best adapted screenplay at the Oscars.

Watch: Now on Amazon Prime Video

Soul

After landing the gig of a lifetime, a New York jazz pianist suddenly finds himself trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife. Starring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Graham Norton, it’s nominated for three Oscars and BAFTAs, including best animated film and the awards for its music and sound.

Watch: On Disney+ now

The United States vs Billie Holiday

In her debut acting role, singer Andra Day takes on the role of the legendary Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time – and has won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Oscar, no less. The film tells the story of how the government targeted Holiday in the 1940s, ultimately aiming to stop her from singing her controversial ballad, Strange Fruit.

Watch: On Sky Cinema now

News Of The World

Set five years after the end of the Civil War in the US, Tom Hanks stars as veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. He is moving from town to town sharing true stories from around the world, but ends up travelling with 10-year-old Johanna (Helena Zengel). While Hanks isn’t nominated this time round, the film is up for several Oscars and BAFTAs, including best cinematography.

Watch: On Netflix now

One Night In Miami…

Regina King is already an Oscar-winning actress, but in 2020 she made her directorial debut, too. One Night In Miami… is a fictional account of a night that sees icons Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown gathering to discuss their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s.

Watch: On Amazon Prime Video now

His House

A truly original British horror, Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku play refugees from South Sudan, whose new start in England takes a terrifying turn when the house they’re made to stay in takes on a demonic spirit. Mosaku and director Remi Weekes have already picked up British Independent Film Awards gongs, and the film is up for three BAFTAs, too – best actress for Mosaku, outstanding debut for Weekes, and outstanding British film.

Watch: On Netflix now

The Dig

Starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes, The Dig is an archaeological film revealing the treasures of Sutton Hoo – the real-life discovery of an Anglo-Saxon "ghost ship" filled with riches, weaponry and armour in Suffolk back in 1939 – to the world. It is nominated for five BAFTAs, including outstanding British film.

Watch: On Netflix now

• This year’s BAFTAs ceremony takes place on Sunday 11 April, while the Oscars is overnight UK time on Sunday 25 April.

Photo credits: Searchlight Pictures, Amazon Studios, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Netflix, Warner Bros, Minari/Melissa Lukenbaugh/A24, AP, Paramount Pictures Corporation/Sky UK, Altitude, STX, Disney +

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