2021 Oscars Best Picture nominees ranked: Every year I watch all the Academy Award-nominated films in the Best Picture category. And when time allows, I watch films in the other Oscar award categories such as Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Animated Feature and more.
2021 Academy Award-nominated Best Picture films ranked
I finished my 2021 Oscar Best Pic Nominations marathon a little early this year and at home (Academy Awards are/were Sunday, April 25, 2021 – depending on when you read this). I found it a little weird this year not seeing any of the 2021 Oscar-nominated movies in the theater – although we love our home theater thanks to my visual- and audiophile husband. And we did support our local theater by purchasing concessions from them regularly.
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Here are my 2021 Oscar Best Picture rankings for the eight Academy Award nominees (not necessarily who I think will win). Movie quotes sourced directly from the film itself or from IMDb.
1. 2021 Oscar Best Picture nominee: The Father
Coming in at the top spot of the best of the best Oscar best picture nominees is The Father. Sir Anthony Hopkins should receive Best Actor – brilliant acting. And the writing! I may rewatch the Academy-Award nominated The Father again knowing what I know now. The Father offers a touching perspective on aging, empathy and compassion.
One-word movie review for the Oscar-nominated The Father: Heartrending
Where was The Father filmed?
The Oscar-nominated film, The Father, was filmed and set in London, England.
Best quote from The Father
The best quotes from the Father: “I feel as though I’m losing all my leaves.” And “I don’t need any help from anyone. And I’m not going to leave my flat. All I want is for everyone to f*** off. Having said that… it’s been a great pleasure. Au revoir. Toodle-oo.”
2. 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture and winner: Nomadland
While I loved this well-deserved Oscar-nominated and winning best-picture film, Nomadland, I am no longer considering van camping as a lifestyle. And discovered and fell in love with a new composer: Ludovico Einaudi. My husband and I both asked Siri about the same song at the same time to find out who and what it was (the silver lining of watching movies from home). And just learned that his music is also featured in The Father.
One-word movie review for Nomadland: Moving (in more ways than one)
Where was 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee Nomadland filmed?
The Academy Award-nominated movie Nomadland was filmed in Nevada, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arizona, California.
Best quote from Nomadland
Best quotes from Nomadland: “Then he told me before he died, just don’t waste any time, girl. Don’t waste any time. So I retired as soon as I could. I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” And “One of the things I love most about this life is that there’s no final goodbye…I always just say, ‘I’ll see you down the road.”‘
What book was Nomadland based on? The Oscar-nominated film, Nomadland, is a fictional story; however, the movie is based on the nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century by Jessica Bruder.
3. 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee: The Trial of the Chicago 7
I earned a minor in U.S. history and knew about the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but not at this level of detail. A lot of “I didn’t know that” as I watched this courtroom and civil rights drama. I didn’t realize Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden and Jerry Rubin were put on trial – well, didn’t know any of them had been. I’ll get to my favorite quote in this movie, but another great quote from The Trial of the Chicago 7 came from Hoffman, “…we’re not goin’ to jail because of what we did, we’re goin’ to jail because of who we are!” A quote from the 1960s that still rings true today unfortunately.
One-word movie review for Oscar-nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7: Engrossing
Where was The Trial of the Chicago 7 filmed?
The Trial of the Chicago 7 was filmed in New Jersey and Chicago.
Best quote from The Trial of the Chicago 7
Best quote from the Oscar-nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7: “We carried certain ideas across state lines. Not machine guns or drugs or little girls. Ideas…And for that, we were gassed, beaten, arrested, and put on trial.”
4. 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture: Judas and The Black Messiah
I found Judas and the Black Messiah (based-on-a-true-story film of the Black Panther Party) intriguing — great acting and must-know history. I watched it after I saw The Trial of the Chicago Seven (they are semi-related). I would recommend watching them in this order; however, they both would stand on their own. Either order, there will be spoilers if you don’t know the history behind The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Judas and the Black Messiah.
One-word movie review for Judas and the Black Messiah: Gripping
Where was Judas and the Black Messiah filmed?
The Academy-Award best-pic nominee Judas and the Black Messiah was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio (set in Chicago).
Best quote from 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee Judas and the Black Messiah
Best quotes from Judas and the Black Messiah: “Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.” And “Anywhere there is people, there is power.”
5. 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee: Sound of Metal
Surprised I liked Sound of Metal as much as I did. The last couple of poignant scenes stayed with me long after I watched this character-driven film. It’s not a gripping, action-packed film, but lots of subtle and life-defining moments as the main character struggles with accepting a new identity and way forward.
One-word movie review for Sound of Metal: Affecting
Where was the 2021 Oscars Best Picture nomiee Sound of Metal filmed?
The filming locations for Sound of Metal took place in the Boston area including Salem, Massachusetts (and the movie was set in Fenton, Missouri). Wait, what? For some reason, I thought this movie was set in Europe. Now I need to go back and see why I thought that.
Best quote from Sound of Metal
Best quote from Sound of Metal: “Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.”
6. 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture: Minari
Loved the grandmother and son relationship especially…such great acting. And the father in Minari also deserves his Oscar nomination. A slower movie, but did like the family dynamics of Korean immigrants doing their best to live the American dream.
One-word movie review for Minari: Endearing
Where was Minari filmed?
The filming location for the Oscar-nominated movie Minari is Oklahoma and the set in Arkansas.
Favorite quote from 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee Minari
Favorite quotes from Minari: Mtn Dew is “water from the mountains” and “good for your health.” And “Things that hide are more scary and dangerous.”
7. 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture: Mank
Bet you thought I made a mistake and forgot to list Mank in my top-ranked 2021 Oscar-nominated best pic list. Nope. This film may have received the most nominations (10) this year and I thought I would love it, but I could not get into it. I’m sure that may be an unpopular opinion, but my opinions are always my own.
Watching Mank took several starts and stops before I finally finished it (kept falling asleep). I love the back-and-forth with different time periods. What I didn’t like: I couldn’t keep up with the rapid-fire (albeit clever) one-liners. I found myself rewinding to see what I missed in the dialogue. I typically like that type of film, but my mind couldn’t track this movie for whatever reason. I would have been completely lost had I seen Mank at the theater.
One-word movie review for Mank: Disappointing
Where was Mank filmed?
Mank, nominated for 10 Oscars, was filmed in Los Angeles and Kemper Campbell Ranch in California’
Best quote from 2021 Oscars Best Picture nominee Mank
One of my favorite quotes from the Oscar-nominated Mank:
“The Guild’s in its infancy. It needs you.”
“You’re telling me. What writer failed to notice the Screen Writers Guild needs an apostrophe?”
Mank is based on the true story of the screenwriter, Harry Mankiewicz, who wrote the screenplay along with Orson Welles for the classic movie, Citizen Cane.
8. 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture: Promising Young Woman
The Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman is suspenseful and worth watching, but surprised it’s nominated for Best Pic. It is a tough topic that should be addressed, but the story and acting fell short for me.
One-word movie review for Promising Young Woman: Suspenseful
Where was Promising Young Woman filmed?
Promising Young Woman was filmed in Los Angeles, California.
Best quote from Promising Young Woman
Best quote from Promising Young Woman: “It’s every man’s worst nightmare, getting accused of something like that….Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”
Other 2021 Oscar-nominated film categories ratings
In addition to the 2021 Oscar-nominated Best Picture films, I also watched several other movies in the other Academy Award categories. Here are the ratings for several of notable 2021 Oscar movies. You can see my one-word movie reviews for these Oscar-nominated movies as well as all other films I’ve watched since 2020.
- Hillbilly Elegy: 5*
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: 4*
- News of the World: 4*
- One Night in Miami: 3*
- Onward: 4*
- Pieces of a Woman: 4*
- Soul: 5*
- The United States vs. Billie Holiday: 5*
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