In 2020, the film industry all but shut down. 2019 featured massive releases – Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – you get the idea. But 2020 featured far less compelling entertainment, the annual box office decreasing a record 81% from the previous year. However, 2021 staged an epic comeback. The theatrical box office increased, yes, but the greatness of 2021’s cinema in the quality and quantity of films released.
Here are twenty-one 2021 movies that everyone should watch over break.
Disclaimer: Thus far, I have experienced forty-six 2021 releases and have a dozen left to see. As of December 17th I have been unable to watch the following films …
- C’mon C’mon (A24)
- Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
- Halloween Kills (Universal)
- House of Gucci (Universal)
- Last Night in Soho (Universal)
- Licorice Pizza (Universal)
- No Time To Die (Universal)
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Warner Bros.)
21. The French Dispatch (theaters)
Auteur director Wes Anderson is back with his most stylized film yet: The French Dispatch. Anderson, known for being perhaps the most meticulous and detail-oriented director of all time, went all out on this one. The production design, cinematography, and other technical elements are so phenomenal that it’s hard to even fathom. The story is less stellar – many will find it dull, though I myself enjoyed it – however, the characters and performances make up for it. This is something you can only see at SLO’s independent Palm Theatre (unless you trek yourself out of the county), but the experience is worth it. However, do keep in mind that Wes Anderson’s style is an acquired taste, and the film’s anthology format even more so. If you have found that you like Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch will not disappoint.
20. The Harder They Fall (Netflix)
The Harder They Fall was a fairly recent Western that Jeymes Samuel put out under the Netflix banner. It was entertaining, bombastic, and stylistic. The plot got a bit convoluted and underwhelming at times, but fans of contemporary Westerns (Harder They Fall evokes a less qualitative Django: Unchained) will be pleased at just how fun – I called it “dope” to my friend when I finished seeing it – the experience of watching it is. It also features some fantastic performances from a high-brow ensemble. Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Lakeith Stanfield, Regina King, and more steal the screen at some point. If nothing else, come for the phenomenal opening sequence and the subsequent opening titles. They are sublime in the coolest way possible.
19. Encanto (theaters, Disney+)
Disney’s 60th feature film makes you marvel at just how far animated movies have come. In ninety years, they went from simplistic cell animation of seven dwarves featured in Snow White to the beautifully animated Madrigal family living in the colorful, sparkling titular encanto. The film follows Mirabel, the only (biological) member of the Madrigals to have no “gift.” All the other members of the family were instilled with a magical power when they came of age allowing them to help develop and support the village surrounding the encanto. However, Mirabel did not get a power, and was instead prophesized to either destroy or save the encanto‘s magic when it starts to fall apart. What follows is a slightly atypical Disney musical, though it features your typical quirky protagonist and well-written tunes (courtesy of Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda). However, it’s certainly one of the better ones the studio has put out in the past decade, and is worth a watch either in theaters or on Disney+ – the film is scheduled to release there on Christmas Eve.
18. Luca (Disney+)
Directly above Disney’s newest feature is Pixar’s newest feature – the wonderful Italian seaside Luca. The titular character is a sea monster who turns into a human when on land, and explores the village of Porto Rosso with his sea monster friend Alberto, who lives on land and has been abandoned by his father. The average MBHS student has likely seen the film, as it has been released for quite some time and received extremely positive reactions from critics and audiences alike. It will take you quite a bit of scrolling on Letterboxd or IMDb to find a negative review of Luca – it is perhaps the most agreeably charming film to release all year. While it won’t do anything to blow you away with its quality, I would highly recommend Luca (available for free on Disney+) if you want a relaxing, pleasant film to see with your family or friends.
17. Finch (Apple TV+)
Finch is not a film many saw, nor is it a film many found notable. I saw it, though, and I found it notable. The film is about an old man and his dog living in a post-apocalyptic Earth. The man, named Finch and played by Tom Hanks, builds a robot to protect his dog when he dies. It is a remarkable film because of how Tom Hanks commands the screen with just a dog and computer-generated robot by his side. His performance is one of the best of the year, it is because of it that I found Finch one of the most compelling and entertaining films of the year. Caleb Landry Jones as the initially unnamed robot he builds is charmingly awkward and loveable. The film lacks conflict for the majority of the film, and yet it always has momentum. It’s difficult to describe the wonder that I find to be present in Finch; you just have to see it for yourself. If you have Apple TV+, there’s no reason to not give this a watch.
16. In The Heights (HBO Max)
Early in the summer of this year, the adaptation of the hit musical In The Heights (another film with lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda) made waves as the film to enjoy in theaters or on HBO Max with your friends. Which is why if you haven’t already, you should catch up on this excellent summer blockbuster. There isn’t anything to really take issue with in In The Heights. It’s a vibrant exploration of Hispanic culture, family, and the definition of “home.” From the catchy tunes to the wonderful characters to the spirited direction, it constantly asserts a tone that is at once colorful and thoughtful. The ensemble gives it their all, Anthony Ramos delivering a notably charismatic yet complex performance as the lead character Usnavi, who wants more than anything else to return to his home of the Dominican republic. Melody, love, and laughter combine in the easily streamable must-watch that is In The Heights.
15. Shiva Baby (HBO Max)
Shiva Baby, the directorial debut of Emma Seligman, is chock-full of excruciating embarrassment. A dark comedy about a young woman encountering the wealthy married man with whom she has been having sex for money, Shiva Baby is a far wittier and more artful film than you might expect. Taking place in a crisp 90 minutes at a shiva (a Jewish service similar to a wake), the film follows Danielle having to encounter several crucial people in her life one by one eventually crescendoing with a ear splittingly, genuinely painful amount of embarrassment and stress. It’s hard to sum up Shiva Baby in a compelling way, because it’s really the individual elements that comprise it that are so fantastic. Rachel Sennott’s phenomenal performance as Danielle, Molly Gordon’s accompanying supporting performance as her ex-girlfriend, the exquisite direction and snappy writing by newcomer Seligman, the crisp and unsettling score, and the editing, which deserves all the praise in the world. It’s incredibly fast and stressful and quite frankly elevates the film from good to absolutely brilliant. You know what? For the editing alone, you HAVE to see Shiva Baby. It’s easily streamable, one of the shortest films of the year, and chock-full of creative and cunning cinematic choices.
14. The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
A brooding exploration of toxic masculinity told through the lens of 1920s Montana and the Western genre, The Power of the Dog is one of the most fascinating films of the year. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a charismatic, ultra-masculine rancher – he bathes in dirt, castrates animals with his bare hands, and is verbally abusive to everyone around him. When his brother marries Rose, played by Kirsten Dunst, and she and her effeminate son – played by Kodi Smit-McPhee – move in, he is furious. The film is a slow, subtle, expertly crafted look at the four’s power dynamics and characters. It’s all at once a beautifully directed Western, a film full of symbolism, a character study, a thematic exploration of masculinity, and a mystery-thriller. Kodi Smit-McPhee and his character are people to watch. He is brilliantly subtle here, giving an incredibly layered yet largely quiet performance that climaxes in the film’s final seconds. I’ll say this – the final smile McPhee gives is more haunting than anything you could possibly imagine. Benedict Cumberbatch could use a few more scenes in the film, but what we do get is more than enough to leave an impact. I adored both the scenes where his character is subtly unveiled and the scenes where he has fits of rage or ridicule. From composer Jonny Greenwood’s plucky strings to cinematographer Ari Wegner’s shot of blood on wheat stalks (one of many phenomenal shots that deserves iconic status), The Power of the Dog is the perfect film to watch if you desire an intellectual feature – and it’s on Netflix, as of December 1st.
13. The Guilty (Netflix)
The Guilty is probably not a film that deserves to be this high on the list, but it is everything I adore in a movie. It follows a police officer demoted to 911 operator for an initially unstated reason, and a night of operation in which he scrambles to save a distressed caller via phone calls. It is a harrowing 88 minutes full of revelations and reckonings. It is dialogue-packed, it starts out cold and calculated but ends with pure emotional catharsis, and it features one absolute powerhouse performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. I cannot offer the amount of content I did for previous list entries to The Guilty, I can only express my love for its simplistic yet forceful nature and the phenomenal lead performance, and urge every reader to see it on Netflix immediately.
12. The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Netflix)
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is animated comedy at its finest. Anyone who can see this and not laugh dozens of times needs extensive therapy. I myself consider it the funniest film of the decade, and laughed hysterically throughout the film all of the three times I saw it. From the charming, quirky voice acting to the sharp-as-a-sword comedy to the genuinely amazing character writing and plot, I adored it. It’s endlessly rewatchable, effortlessly entertaining, a true blast. The Mitchells vs. The Machines follows Katie Mitchell and her family’s road trip to her college, which is interrupted by the robot apocalypse. It’s actually an extremely compelling look at the dysfunctional family, with an amazing story that never ceases to entertain. But above all else, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is funny. Shockingly, scaringly, incredibly, insanely funny. It’s an endless joyride that should be considered one of the best children’s adventures of the 21st century, and it’s been on Netflix since April. If your younger sibling wants to see a film with you this break, or if you just feel like a film with easy-to-understand and easy-to-laugh-at humor, it’s a true must-see.
11. Eternals (Disney+)
Eternals is a brilliant addition to the Marvel canon, it has phenomenal direction and its scale is wonderfully massive. What makes Eternals truly special, however, is its ensemble. You can read my review concerning the ensemble of Eternals HERE, but in a nutshell – Eternals does a brilliant job of taking ten characters and giving them all personality, development, and a great actor to play them. Brian Tyree Henry and Barry Keoghan are the stand-outs, acting circles around the other eight despite how wonderful they are, too. And it truly is the best-looking Marvel film. The color and scope and cinematography is dazzling. Many have problems with it, but I was unable to find more than a few minor ones. Since the Spyglass has covered Eternals extensively, I will refrain from any further commentary on this fantastic film. It is playing in theaters until January 12th, when it will release on Disney+.
10. The Suicide Squad (HBO Max)
The Suicide Squad is one of the bloodiest, most mature films to release in the past decade. The gore is unfathomably graphic – and yet, the film was incredibly fun. Featuring a similarly wonderful ensemble to that of Eternals, it is a non-stop thrill and joke ride. The pace is superbly snappy and fast, the direction surprisingly stylized with visually masterful title cards and excellent usage of lighting. You know that when you watch a film in which a half-man, half-shark brutally tears a soldier in half (lengthwise) and that shark is probably the most loveable character of the year, that a film is doing something right. But The Suicide Squad does more than something right – it arguably does everything right. From the score to the soundtrack to the screenplay, from the performances to the pacing to the production design, The Suicide Squad is strikingly original and uniquely entertaining. If you are alright with extremely excessive violence, The Suicide Squad is the film for you – I adored it. It is streamable on HBO Max.
9. Belfast (theaters)
I loved Belfast in almost every way. It’s very well-shot. Its art direction and editing and score hit in all the right ways, and the direction is not only remarkably showy, but poignant and powerful as well. But most of all, it’s a film that hits all of the emotional beats you could possibly desire, and contains a fantastic ensemble that packs a punch. The heart and soul of Belfast is Jude Hill as Buddy, as a young child growing up in Belfast during the tumultuous 1960s. His performance certainly ranks among the best child performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Despite being the same age as my sister, who is in fifth grade, his emotional range and dialogue delivery is stunning. In fact, it’s the widest of all the cast. He has scenes of profound happiness, profound sadness, and simple yet profound childishness which the film portrays in stark contrast to the extreme violence and hatred around him. Ciaran Hinds, Jamie Dornan, and especially Caitriona Balfe join him to create one of the most emotionally satisfying ensembles and screenplays of the year. You’ll have to travel to either Atascadero or Paso Robles in order to see Belfast (it’s an exclusive theatrical release), but it’s so emotionally gratifying that your trip will almost certainly be worth it.
8. Spencer (20$ on Prime)
A far less emotionally rewarding yet far more cinematic experience is that of auteur Pablo Larraín’s newest feature film, a fable about the Princess Diana and the peak of her mental health issues, Spencer. The film, on a thematic level, is gargantuan. From the film’s first shot to its last, you can feel the themes lingering in the air. In the words we see and hear, in the setting we experience, in the characters we watch. Claustrophobia. Surveillance. Diana was an animal in a trap, gnawing off her own leg to escape, and for an hour and fifty-one minutes we are, too. The discordant strings, the disjointed editing, the airy cinematography, all work together to provide a perfectly stressful canvas for Kristen Stewart – the actress for Princess Diana – to put her performance on display. She delivers by far the most impressive performance not just of the year, but of the decade. Her performance is raw yet transcendent. I completely forgot that I was watching Kristen Stewart while engaging with Spencer. In fact, I completely forgot that what I was seeing was not a real person with real struggles and emotions, but a character played by an actor. You won’t find that her performance is in any way subtle, it is bombastic and emotional and beautiful in all the best possible ways. You simply have to see it. You’ll have to spend 20$ on Prime to do so, but believe it or not, such a price is reasonable for the quality of this film – and if the price seems egregious, it should decrease to a more reasonable 4$ or 8$ in a few months. Regardless of if you wait, for Kristen Stewart alone, Spencer is a must-see.
7. Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime)
Being the Ricardos is the newest film by writer-director Aaron Sorkin, who wrote in 2010 my favorite film of all time The Social Network as well as other favorites like Steve Jobs and A Few Good Men. I have been closely following his movies ever since. While his newest film Ricardos won’t be topping my favorites list any time soon, it certainly ranks among the best films of this year. The film follows Lucille Ball, played masterfully by Nicole Kidman (if not for Kristen Stewart, her performance would be the best lead female one of the year) filming “I Love Lucy” in the week prior to her divorce of her husband, Desi Arnaz. It is a dialogue-packed character study of an icon. What struck me most is how the film portrayed her as a comedic prodigy, who can visualize the perfect slapstick scene in the blink of an eye and will not settle for a half-baked joke. Alongside J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda as her I Love Lucy co-stars, Javier Bardem as Arnaz, and a fantastic supporting ensemble, Kidman’s Lucille Ball packs a fast-paced, witty punch in a film that is admittedly hand-tailored to everything I like in a film. However, you can’t deny the directorial flair, cathartic ending, and brilliant lead performance. Being the Ricardos releases on Amazon Prime for free on the 21st. There’s no reason not to see it when you have the chance.
6. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount+)
I’m the biggest horror movie wuss ever, and have seen less than a dozen in total. With that said, A Quiet Place Part II is without a doubt the most effective horror film I’ve seen. I was shaking, my dad was actually crying (he’s even more of a wuss), and every time there was a jump scare, the whole audience collectively jumped. The experience was without a doubt enhanced by theaters, and of course having seen the original. Make sure to do that beforehand if you are planning on seeing it. However, I would describe A Quiet Place Part II as better than its predecessor. Not only is every performance even sharper this time – as well as the direction, visual effects, stunts, sound design and score – but Part II of A Quiet Place expands the world in creative, interesting ways. But the best part of the film, the reason why it’s even more of a masterpiece than the original, is the first fifteen minutes. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was probably the most tragic part of the film. It purposely mirrored the beginning of the original in ways that were very clever, and then displayed pure and utter terror. And the rest of the movie it just echoes in your mind. Or at least, my mind. It is likely my naivete when it comes to horror that causes me to rank A Quiet Place Part II this high, but I adored the film and would strenuously suggest you see it and its predecessor on Paramount Plus.
5. The Green Knight (5$ on Prime)
The Green Knight is an artistic, existential masterpiece. An extraordinarily brilliant, well-shot, dream. Like a dream, it is perhaps a bit sporadic and haphazard at times; but like a dream, it can be profoundly beautiful when it wants to be. And Lowery’s The Green Knight absolutely wants to be. The Green Knight, I’ve decided, has the best cinematography of the year. It perhaps ranks among the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. You can’t look at any given frame of this film – imagine that the selection is completely random – and not think at least two things. The first being that whatever frame was chosen is magnificent. The second being that the chosen frame took an immense amount of time to plan and to design. It is meticulously crafted on a color level, on a framing level, on a thematic level, on every level. Part of this is what is in the frame, but most of it is simply how creative and cunning the thought process behind the frame must have been. I shall not give anything away about the plot but this: The Green Knight features a man who chopped off the titular knight’s head and in one year’s time must receive the same fate. It is the most thematically impactful film of the year, giving the audience a subtle yet sustained theme to constantly keep in mind: time kills. If you like dense thematic explorations, or if you like beautifully shot films, or if you like medieval Anglo-Saxon stories, The Green Knight is the masterpiece for you. For just 5$ on Amazon, you can experience it.
4. King Richard (HBO Max)
King Richard, a film starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, is a rather standard crowd-pleaser. Original masterworks like The Green Knight far surpass it in almost every way. But I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of my favorite films of the year. I don’t know that I disliked a single thing about it. It’s a brilliant character study, on top of being a fantastic sports film with all the great tension, tennis shots, and editing you’d want from that kind of thing. Will Smith’s transformative and transcendent portrayal of the man, is truly masterful. It perfectly sums up the film’s themes and the character of Richard. At his core, what he wants more than anything is for his daughters to be more respected and successful than he is. All his mannerisms and emotional moments just hit; I forgot multiple times throughout the film that this was an actor rather than a real man. Saniyya Sidney’s performance as Venus Williams is just as masterful. If you know me, you know how much I love to praise child performances. And boy, Sidney is praise-worthy. That moment where she screams “YES” with pure giddiness just plastered a huge smile on my whole family’s faces. And all the character development and payoff for Venus Williams is just excellent, I walked out of this film caring just as much for Venus as Richard. I love how when Richard accomplishes his goal in the final scene, the movie just goes all in for Venus. In just ten minutes, it makes you feel like Venus is the main character, because Richard’s purpose is fulfilled. Jon Bernthal as her coach, and Aunjanue Ellis as her mother are incredibly praise-worthy as well (and the latter seems to be looking at an Oscar nomination). What King Richard does best is put a smile on your face. It takes the crowdpleaser formula and maximizes its potential, it takes a character and cranks his and everyone around him’s development up to 1000 – it’s just wonderful. King Richard is a truly wonderful movie, and you should see it on HBO Max if at all possible.
3. West Side Story (theaters)
West Side Story is a bombastic, technically masterful rendition of the 1960s classic updated – on both a technical and cultural level – for the modern age by Steven Spielberg himself. His directorial craft and flair is exquisite; every shot is meticulously lit and framed, every set carefully crafted and constructed, every costume painstakingly sewn and designed. It is the most punctiliously orchestrated release the imagination could fabricate. The film’s opening shot – a wrecked industrial New York slum, entirely created from scratch by production designer Adam Stockhausen. The camera eventually settles on the Jets, a white New York gang, and follows them with insane lighting, brilliant panning, and snappy editing by Michael Kahn and Janusz Kaminski respectively. The Jets show their disgust for their surroundings, as Puerto Rican immigrants have become the main ethnic group in the area, and the film gradually introduces characters of both races. All accompanied by Leonard Bernstein’s classic, upbeat (though simultaneously emotionally complex) score, and ultimately perching on a confrontation with the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang and the Jets’ rival. All with minimal dialogue – though the film has its fair share of brilliant screenplay moments, screenwriter Tony Kushner brings the previously dull (in my opinion) 1961 film to life with effortless character and scenario writing. And Spielberg, Kushner, and crew are just the beginning.
A disclaimer that myself and the Spyglass are fully aware of and condemn Ansel Elgort (the lead in West Side Story) for his alleged actions. However… he can absolutely act and sing. Very well. His co-stars are even more exceptional, however. Rachel Zegler plays Maria with a starry-eyed wonderous flamboyance, her’s is absolutely the star-making debut of the year. Mike Faist is a xenophobic young man (though the genius of West Side Story is that you can empathize with every character, and nobody is per se an antagonist) whose emotional range is stunning. Josh Andres Rivera and David Alvarez’s subtly strong performances carry large chunks of the film. Rita Moreno, the only returning actress from the original film, plays a wise and wondrous old Puerto Rican woman caring for Elgort’s character. And her former role, that of Anita, is taken over by the phenomenal Ariana DeBose. Mark my words, she is receiving an Oscar in just a few months. Her powerhouse performance is the best supporting female one of the year, it is astounding how she captures the character and steals the show from any and every element of the film. It is only playing in theaters for the moment, but that’s a good thing – you would not want to see this film on a smaller screen.
2. Dune (25$ on Prime)
A film that I sure hope you did end up seeing on the big screen is Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. It is a force to be reckoned with, an immersive experience that is crucial to see on the biggest screen possible, as I explained in detail in my expansive review, which you can read HERE. Anything I could possibly say here about its enormously impressive visual, audible, and narrative experience is something I painstakingly wrote in that article, so I highly encourage you to click that link and read it. The only thing that’s changed about my opinion is the film’s flaws – while I maintain that it has some, the film’s reluctance to give the audience every tidbit of information in the book is genius rather than a problem. The simplicity yet scope of Arrakis is undeniably astounding. Dune is no longer in theaters (unless you want to drive down to Santa Maria – it would be worth it), though you can see it on Amazon Prime for $25 (also worth it).
1. Judas and the Black Messiah (HBO Max)
Not only was Judas and the Black Messiah a profound film that moved me more than I can possibly say, it also changed me for the better, something I cannot say many films have done. The most amazing thing about Judas is its ability to encapsulate. Encapsulate grief, encapsulate anger, encapsulate hate, encapsulate a struggle. It encapsulates Fred Hampton’s charisma and power, it encapsulates the Black Panther movement, it encapsulates the profound levels of hate emanating from US agencies at the time, and it encapsulates what the late 60s and early 70s really were for the Black Panthers. War. Judas feels so raw and undistilled because it delivers truth not in its tarnished or filtered form, but in its real form. And then Shaka King manages to make that real form have insane cinematography, amazing performances, and a brilliant screenplay as well. He makes the struggle a cinematic experience, and when that bullet ripped through Fred Hampton’s head after his would-be killer snickered “looks like he’s gonna make it,” my body and brain in my perfectly heated house froze, and didn’t unfreeze until the credits rolled. Judas and the Black Messiah is a true story about Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther party. It was a revolutionary organization in the Civil Rights Movement period with an ideology of Black nationalism, socialism, and armed self-defense, particularly against police brutality. Hampton was assassinated by the FBI in 1969, and Judas and the Black Messiah illustrates both the life of Hampton before his assassination and the events leading up to it concerning the FBI and their informant, Bill O’Neal, the lead of the film and the titular “Judas” who infiltrates the Black Panthers and betrays Fred.
Lakeith Stanfield plays him with a subtle, tragic virtuosity that is simply outstanding. If you look at archival footage for the man, you can see just how much he embodies him and how much effort he puts into his performance despite it appearing as a cool and collected one. The climactic scene in which he makes a crucial decision is a clear example of that, with the sweat he musters and the fear he conveys on evident display. Dominique Fishback’s portrayal of Fred Hampton’s girlfriend makes up the clear emotional core of Judas, her performance has so little screen time but so much depth to make up for it. The “poetry” scene was a particularly wondrous display of her acting talent and emotional power. But if they, and every other performance I’ve mentioned in this article (with perhaps the exception of Kristen Stewart) are in the “A” tier of performances, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as Fred Hampton is in the “S” tier. He is stupefyingly talented, and any scene – any line that you could possibly extract from the film is (in addition to being incredibly well-written) delivered with such versatility and gusto. His inflection and emotion and delivery, every possible element of a performance that you could extrapolate, is dialed up to an exponential number. He is absolutely insane. Just watch the “speech” scene, readily available on YouTube. That should convince you not only of his immense talent, but that seeing this movie on HBO Max is absolutely worth your time and you should do it as soon as possible. Judas and the Black Messiah is a true masterpiece. Not only my favorite film of the year, but one of my favorite films of all time.
Before I conclude, I’d like to give my picks (and runner-ups) for the best direction, screenplays, and performances in films this year.
Best Direction: Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve
Best Original Screenplay: Judas and the Black Messiah written by Shaka King
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Green Knight written by David Lowery
Best Film Ensemble: West Side Story starring Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Mike Faist, Rita Moreno, and David Alvarez
Best Lead Male Performance: Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard
Best Lead Female Performance: Kristen Stewart as Diana Spencer in Spencer
Best Supporting Male Performance: Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Supporting Female Performance: Ariana DeBose as Anita in West Side Story
Best Child Performance: (TIE) Jude Hill as Buddy in Belfast; Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams in King Richard