• Entertainment

A Look Back at The Academy Awards’ 10 Best Films of 2021

Jun 23, 2022
by Janice Roman

4 min read

AB Orig

The 94th Academy Awards already wrapped up in March, but there’s always a reason to look back on some of 2021’s most lauded titles. While there seem to be clear winners every year, the awarding body’s prestige and reputation make every nominee a winner. Among the many awards given that night, the most-awaited and revered of them has to be the award for Best Picture. Why not relive Oscars Night by binge-watching your favorites from the 10 nominees and winners? Make sure you have the fastest and strongest broadband connection at home, PLDT Home’s Fiber Unli and Fiber Plus plans, to enjoy uninterrupted movie marathons with family and friends!

Which ones are your favorites?


From IMDb


AWARDS: Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Troy Kotsur)


CAST:  Emilia Jones and Eugenio Derbez, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur

CODA is a Hollywood remake of a French-Belgian film, a story of conflict between fulfilling one’s dream and adhering to family duties. It follows the story of an aspiring and extremely gifted young singer whose entire family is hearing impaired.

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Courtesy of HBO GO


AWARDS: Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Original Music, and Best Original Score

DIRECTED BY: Dennis Villeneuve

CAST: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Fergusson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

This year’s blockbuster entry, Dune, is a futuristic sci-fi epic set in 10,191 AD. It tells the story of two space-faring domains that vie to control the galaxy’s most valuable resource. Adapted from Frank Herbert’s epic series of novels, Dune is the most-nominated and most-awarded film this year. Nominated for ten awards and won six. (Stream Dune via HBO Go, and get unlimited access to many other movies and TV shows!)


Courtesy HBO GO

King Richard

AWARD: Best Actor (Will Smith)

DIRECTED BY: Reinaldo Marcus Green

CAST: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal, and Tony Goldwyn

A biopic that relates the humble beginnings and eventual rise of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams, the story is told from the perspective of the William sisters’ father, Richard, who penned the 78-page plan for his daughters’ athletic success. King Richard is also streaming on HBO Go, another great reason to start subscribing now.


From IMDb


AWARD: Best Original Screenplay

DIRECTED BY: Kenneth Branagh

CAST: Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Ciaran Hinds, Judi Dench, Jude Hill

A British coming of age film tells the story of a 9-year-old boy growing up in Northern Ireland’s capital city Belfast during the late 1960s. His innocence is rocked when a series of sectarian conflicts known as The Troubles starts shaking up the country.

The Power of The Dog

From IMDb

The Power of The Dog

AWARD: Best Director (Jane Campion)

DIRECTED BY: Jane Campion

CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch in a critically acclaimed role. Alongside him are Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee

A western psychological drama based on a novel of the same name, it tells the story of two wealthy but polar-opposite brothers and their relationship with a windowed in-keeper and her teenage son.

West Side Story

From IMDb

West Side Story

AWARD: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Ariana DeBose)

DIRECTED BY: Steven Spielberg

CAST: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Rita Moreno, Ariana DeBose

A reimagining of the Broadway classic heavily inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this story set in 1950s Upper West Side Manhattan follows two racially different gangs fighting for control of their down-trodden neighborhood and their two star-crossed members who fall in love with each other.

Drive My Car

From Drive My Car Official Website

Drive My Car

AWARD: Best International Feature Film

DIRECTED BY: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

CAST: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura

This film tells the story of a successful but widowed theater director and his orphaned young chauffeur, their bond, and how they help each other come to terms with their demons. Japan’s official entry to the 94th Oscars is also the only Asian film to make it to this year’s nominees and the first Japanese film to be nominated for Oscar’s Best Picture.

Licorice Pizza

From IMDb

Licorice Pizza

DIRECTED BY: Paul Thomas Anderson

CAST: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper

Licorice Pizza is a coming-of-age comedy-drama that tells the awkward story of young love that blooms between a 15-year-old high school student for a 25-year-old photographer’s assistant and their bond with the lovable locals of their small town.


From IMDb

Don’t Look Up


CAST: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan

What if you got to warn the world of impending doom, but you know they wouldn’t believe you? Such is the dilemma in this satirical sci-fi comedy about an astronomy professor and his bright student. They discovered a killer asteroid en route to earth but failed to convince the world governments to take action.

Nightmare Alley

From IMDb

Nightmare Alley

DIRECTED BY: Guillermo del Toro

CAST: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman

A neo-noir psychological thriller based on a novel of the same name, it tells the story of a carnival worker trying to uncover his mysterious past. Dark, insidious, and exquisite.


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Janice Roman

Janice is the main writer for Next Upgrade’s Wellness, Pop Culture, Entertainment sections. As a media and communication studies scholar, writer, and researcher, Janice writes about a hybrid of topics from academic to lifestyle journalism. She is a pleasure reader of Nick Joaquin’s books and pride literature.