IndieWire’s awards expert Anne Thompson wrote earlier this year that all the Academy needs is 10 good contenders to have an Oscars ceremony. In that case, the 2021 Academy Awards are a go. Theater closures, festival cancellations, and endless release delays have made the state of this year’s Oscar race unusual, but the race is on and there are more than enough great films eligible to make the 2020-21 awards season an exciting one.
One of the major changes to the 2021 Oscars is a temporary rule that will allow streaming and VOD movies that had planned theatrical releases to be eligible for the Academy Awards. To keep track of the must-see movies eligible for the Oscars under this new rule, IndieWire has created the running guide below consisting of great films that either opened in theaters this year already or intended to do so but instead opened on streaming or VOD amid the pandemic. Whether or not the following films become Oscar contenders or get studio-backed campaigns remain to be seen, but for now these are the films eligible for the 2021 Oscars that are worth seeking out.
Note: New titles that meet the Oscar eligibility requirements will be added in the future as they are released (example: “Nomadland,” “Minari,” and other festival favorites).