A production still from Rocks

16 award-nominated series and films they got right, and where to watch them

Posted by for Entertainment

From Rocks to I May Destroy You and The Great, here are 16 brilliant films and series that the award nominations got right this year. 

Awards season 2021 is upon us and, for obvious reasons, things are a little different this year. There’ll be no red carpets rolled out, speeches are likely to be broadcast over Zoom and designer frocks might even be swapped for joggers. But one thing that will always remain the same, pandemic or not, is the outrage they can cause.  

Already, the recently announced Golden Globe nominations have been heavily scrutinised for snubbing Micaela Coel’s masterpiece, I May Destroy You. And people are absolutely flummoxed over the fact that Emily In Paris – Netflix’s easy-to-binge and easy-to-forget series – has raked in award nominations. 

It begs the question: do award nominations even mean anything anymore?

With this in mind, we’ve taken a look through the Golden Globe, Bafta longlist* and Sag award nominations to pick out the ones that we know they got right. And if you want to make that call for yourself, we’ve found where you can watch them all online…

Rocks

Award nominations: Eight Bafta longlist mentions, including outstanding British film, best director and best leading actress. 

Why you should watch it: Rocks follows a Nigerian-Jamaican teen, Olushola, known as Rocks, navigating the intricacy of secondary school life and the complexities of her friendship circle. In the backdrop, she’s taking care of her younger brother after their mother walks out on them. 

It’s a rare, much-needed and unflinchingly honest coming-of-age story of working-class Black and brown girls, and the young cast members are outstanding. 

Where you can stream it: Netflix

I May Destroy You

I May Destroy You
Michaela Coel in I May Destroy You.

Award nominations: SAG for outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or miniseries

Why you should watch it: Inspired by Coel’s real-life experiences, I May Destroy You tells the story of Arabella, a 30-something writer who wakes up after a night out with the hangover from hell and very fuzzy memories of what happened. However, as the day progresses, she begins experiencing a smattering of intrusive, frightening flashbacks – flashbacks that indicate she’s been the victim of a sexual assault.

Released last year, it made waves with its nuanced and searing look at consent and modern dating. It was also threaded with Coel’s sharp humour and had a brilliant soundtrack that helped get us through summer.

Where you can stream it: iPlayer

The Queen’s Gambit

Anya Taylor Joy as Beth Harman
The Queen's Gambit is returning as a musica.

Award nominations: Two SAGs (including best actress) and two Golden Globes (including best limited television series).

Why you should watch it: Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date, The Queen’s Gambit stars Anya Taylor-Joy as orphan and chess prodigy Beth Harmon. The miniseries is loved for its searing performances, emotionally-charged storyline, and gorgeous period aesthetics. It also caused a huge spike in chessboard sales.

As Taylor-Joy said in a recent interview: “Passion is just exciting. I think from the minute you see how passionate she [Beth] is about chess, it kind of draws you into it in that way.”

Where you can stream it: Netflix

The White Tiger

The White Tiger on Netflix
Priyanka Chopra in The White Tiger.

Award nominations: Seven Bafta longlist mentions, including best leading actor, best supporting actress and best director.

Why you should watch it: Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger tells the story of Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav), an ambitious driver of a rich Indian couple (Priyanka Chopra and Rajkummar Rao) who uses his wit and cunning to escape from poverty and become an entrepreneur.

It’s a frustrating and sometimes very difficult watch, but it’s also an important examination of the class system in India. 

Where you can stream it: Netflix

Saint Maud

Morfydd Clark in Saint Maud.
Morfydd Clark in Saint Maud.

Award nominations: 11 Bafta longlist mentions, including best original screenplay, outstanding British film and best director.

Why you should watch it: This horror isn’t for the faint-hearted. Saint Maud tells the story of a live-in nurse who is assigned to Amanda, a famous dancer who is now frail and isolated at home. At first, Amanda is intrigued by religious young woman, while Maud in return is bewitched by her new patient. But, as you might have guessed, Maud isn’t all she seems…

Where you can stream it: Amazon Prime Video (available to rent from £3.99)

Pieces Of A Woman

Best films for 2021: Pieces of a Woman
Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman.

Award nominations: Four Bafta longlist mentions, two SAGs and one Golden Globes.

Why you should watch it: Vanessa Kirby is incredible in her first breakthrough role in this adaptation of a 2018 play. Pieces Of A Woman tells the devastating story of Martha (Kirby) and Sean, a couple trying to navigate life after losing their baby during a home birth. It explores the grief they experience, the effect this has on their relationship and their seemingly impossible quest to find answers about the death of their child.

It’s such an important issue that so many women experience but rarely see on screen. 

Where you can stream it: Netflix

Promising Young Woman

Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.

Award nominations: 13 Bafta longlist mentions, one SAG and eight Golden Globes. 

Why you should watch it: Cassie is a barista and ex-medical student. Every week, she goes to a club, pretends to be too drunk to stand, and waits for a “nice guy” to go over and check if she’s OK. What happens next? We’re not completely sure, but she clearly doesn’t have the best intentions. A former classmate called Ryan re-enters her life and so does the possibility of healing – until new details about the death of her best friend infuriate Cassie and inspire her most potent confrontation yet.

Directed by Emerald Fenell and starring Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman is sure to be worth the hype.

Where you can stream it: Amazon Prime Video (but you’ll have to wait until 12 February to rent or buyt it)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Netflix
Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Award nominations: 11 Bafta longlist mentions, four SAGs and two Golden Globes (all including best actor) 

Why you should watch it: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was Chadwick Boseman’s last production before his death last year. The film centres around an afternoon recording session in 1920’s Chicago as tensions and temperatures rise among the musicians, including Levee (Boseman), awaiting singer Ma Rainey’s arrival.

Oscar-winner Viola Davis, who stars as the titular role, said of Broswick’s performance: “A lot of actors mistake their presence for the event. An actor of Chadwick’s status usually comes on and it’s their ego who comes before them: this is what they want, this is what they’re not going to do. That was absolutely 150% off the table with Chadwick. He could completely discard whatever ego he had, whatever vanity he had, and welcome Levee in.”

Where you can stream it: Netflix

Emma

Josh O'Connor in Emma.

Award nominations: Six Bafta longlist mentions, one Golden Globe (best actor in a musical or comedy film(

Why you should watch it: Who doesn’t love a fresh Jane Austen adaptation? This stylish adaptation of Emma is directed by Autumn de Wilde and stars Anya Taylor-Joy (who is racking up the awards this season), Johnny Flynn and Bill Nighy. 

It of course follows Emma Woodhouse, a young regency lady living in Highbury who gives ‘match-maker’ a whole new meaning when she begins scheming in the lives of her friends and family. During the course of all her meddling, could she be missing an opportunity for herself to find love? 

Where you can stream it: Now TV

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime
Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere.

Award nominations: One SAG for best outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or miniseries

Why you should watch it: The adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best-selling 2017 novel Little Fires Everywhere is produced by Reese Witherspoon, who also stars in the series alongside Kerry Washington. So you’re already onto a winner. The drama explores how the arrival of artist Mia (Washington) and her daughter upends the privileged world Elena (Witherspoon) and her family live in. There’s arson, there’s custody battles, there’s huge family secrets. Yep, sparks fly in this one.

Where you can stream it: Amazon Prime Video

The Crown

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown.

Award nominations: Six SAGs (including three nominations for best female performance in a drama series) and six Golden Globes (including best drama television series).

Why you should watch it: The Crown is of course a regular on the nominations lists, but the latest series (number four) was arguably the most talked-about so far. It introduced us to two female figures who shaped the 80s in the UK: Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). The performances are scarily accurate and, as always, there is plenty of uicy drama based on real life events to feast on.

Where you can stream it: Netflix

Ammonite

Ammonite: Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.
Kate Winslet in Ammonite.

Award nominations: Nine Bafta longlist mentions, including outstanding British film, best leading actress and best costume design.

Why you should watch it: When Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan sign onto a project, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the film will be something special. Set in 1800s England, Ammonite tells the story of real life fossil hunter and paleontologist Mary Anning (Winslet) who meets a woman called Charlotte (Ronan). Mary and Charlotte initially clash, but over time they begin to form an intense and passionate bond, forcing them to determine the true nature of their relationship.

Where you can stream it: Ammonite isn’t currently streaming in the UK, but you can order it on DVD)

The Assistant

Julia Garner in The Assistant film 2020
Julia Garner in The Assistant.

Award nominations: Three Bafta longlist mentions (best director, best original screenplay and best leading actress).

Why you should watch it: In Kitty Green’s The Assistant, Jane (Julia Garner) is a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who lands her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant, making coffee, ordering lunch, arranging travel accommodation and taking phone messages. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colours every aspect of her workday, an accumulation of degradations against which she decides to take a stand.

It’s a devastating drama that explores the culture behind the Harvey Weinstein scandal, revealing how power is used to intimidate and silence.

Where you can stream it: Amazon Prime Video (buy it for £2.99)

Soul

Jamie Foxx in Soul.

Award nominations: Six Baftas and two Golden Globes (both include best animated film).

Why you should watch it: Disney Pixar’s latest release, Soul, couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. It tells the story of jazz musician Joe, who is fixated on “making it big”, but one day finds himself close to death and living in The Great Before. He does everything he can to get back to earth with the help of  a young soul called 22. It’s funny, heartwarming and makes you realise that life is really just about enjoying the small things that put a smile on your face. 

Where you can stream it: Disney+

Ratched

RATCHED (L to R) SARAH PAULSON as MILDRED RATCHED in episode 101 of RATCHED Cr. SAEED ADYANI/NETFLIX © 2020
Sarah Paulson in Ratched.

Award nominations: Three Golden Globes (including best drama television series and best actress in a television series).

Why you should watch it: Ratched, the latest in a long line of collaborations between Sarah Paulson and Ryan Murphy, offers up a twisted origins story for Mildred Ratched, aka the sadistic nurse from Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The dark tale is told through beautiful aesthetics, and Paulson’s performance as the troubled nurse is typically brilliant. 

Where you can stream it: Netflix

The Great

Elle Fanning in The Great.

Award nominations: Two SAGs and three Golden Globes (including best musical or comedy TV series). 

Why you should watch it: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult are pitch-perfect in this fun take on historical events. The Great is a satirical star-studded drama that gleefully describes itself as the “occasionally true story” of Catherine the Great, charting her rise from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history.

Huzzah! 

Where you can stream it: All 4

*The final Bafta nominations will be announced on 9 March

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Images: various film distributers 

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…