For travel nurses, 2020 was a blur at best, and it’s possible you missed seeing most or all of this year’s Academy Award nominations or winners. Maybe you can catch up on a few on your next flight or while unwinding after a long shift. Here’s a rundown of the 2021 Best Picture nominees plus the irresistible Best Documentary winner.
Nomadland — This year’s Best Picture tells the story of a widow (Frances McDormand, Best Actress) whose job in a mining company town ends with the mine’s closing. Fern buys a secondhand RV and finds friendship and support among a large, loose community of van dwellers who move from job to job, state to state.
The Father — Anthony Hopkins (Best Actor) gives a heart-rending and masterful performance as an elderly man struggling with advancing dementia. His daughter, played by the ever-versatile Olivia Colman, is exhausted by the stress of caring for her father as she tries to salvage her marriage.
Judas and the Black Messiah — Daniel Kaluuya took home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late-1960s Chicago.
Minari — An engaging and hopeful story of an immigrant Korean family trying to establish a farm in Arkansas in the face of many obstacles. The warmth and humor of the grandmother, played by the Korean star Youn Yuh-jung (Best Supporting Actress) provide the delightful glue that holds the family together.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — This musical drama featuring two-time Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis as the flapper era’s blues singer Ma Rainey, took twin Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Mank — Awarded Best Cinematography, this black-and-white film carries viewers back to the turbulent McCarthy era in Hollywood when Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles wrote the classic “Citizen Kane.”
Promising Young Woman — Billed as “thriller/comedy,” this story of a young woman who drops out of medical school to pursue a vendetta against predatory young men from her past won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar.
Sound of Metal — Winning the Best Sound Design award, this film about a heavy-metal drummer’s life is turned upside down when he begins to lose his hearing and must confront a future filled with silence.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 — If you thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a one-trick comic actor, you’ll want to see him portray the 1960s Yippie rebel, Abbie Hoffman. His dramatic chops are impeccable and his performance is compelling.
My Octopus Teacher — This Best Documentary winner had to be included in this list because it’s a simply beautiful movie about a human-animal relationship between a wildlife documentarist going through a midlife crisis and a baby octopus he follows throughout the year of her life. It’s a feel-good movie of the highest order, and it may make you rethink ordering calamari ever again.