The Handbook
The Handbook

You’re busy, we get it. But nobody wants to get to the day after the Oscars and not have anything to say in the morning Zoom with colleagues. Not another Parasite! So here’s a crib sheet, all the films that look like they might be awards season material.

Here’s what you do, rather than watching approximately 50 hours of movie reel like you’re Tarantino on a day off, all you need to give you a smattering of knowledge suitable for an off-hand bluff is watch the trailer. So here they all are. You’ll be done in the hour. If you still can’t be arsed, there’s a synopsis of the synopsis for each…

The Dig

Synopsis of the synopsis: Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan star in a film about digging for a Saxon longboat, sort of Indiana Jones meets Miss Marple.

Watch on Netflix now…

Promising Young Woman

Synopsis of the synopsis: Carey Mulligan, this time without the Saxon Longboat but with multiple personalities. None of them Ralph Fiennes.

White Tiger

Synopsis of the synopsis: Aravind Adiga’s brilliant book turned into a movie. Sort of Slumdog meets Collateral with a hint of Driving Miss Daisy.

Watch on Netflix now…

Sound of Metal

Synopsis of the synopsis: Riz Ahmed plays a metal band drummer who goes deaf.

Amazon Original, but not for UK Amazon viewers yet. Isn’t that what we’re paying for?

The Mauritanian

Synopsis of the synopsis: Starring Benedict Cumberbatch with an incredibly low voice, we dice with America’s post 9/11 conundrums. Not to be confused with the Manchurian Candidate. Or the Mandalorian.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Synopsis of the synopsis: From Cumberbatch post 9/11 to another legal drama based on another dubiously legal war, the fate of the Chicago 7. A genuinely impressive cast.

Watch on Netflix now…

News Of The World

Synopsis of the synopsis: Not an Andy Coulson drama, but instead Tom Hanks and a little orphan girl take on the world in this odd-ball Western.

Watch on Netflix now…

One Night in Miami

Synopsis of the synopsis: Legends Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Muhammed Ali and Sam Cooke in a room together. Also that rarest of rarities, a female director getting the recognition she’s due in awards season.

Watch on Amazon Prime now…


Synopsis of the synopsis: Not seen Hamilton at the theatre? Now you have.


Synopsis of the synopsis: Fossils and forbidden love in Victorian Dorset with Kate Winslet.

Da 5 Bloods

Synopsis of the synopsis: Five veterans revisit Vietnam decades after the war. A reunion but also a treasure hunt.

Watch on Netflix now…

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

Synopsis of the synopsis: Two Sacha Baron Cohen vehicles gearing up for awards seasons (he also stars in The Trial Of The Chicago 7), but it’s Maria Bakalova who is rumoured to be up for best supporting actress as Borat’s daughter.

Watch on Amazon Prime now…


Synopsis of the synopsis: Frances McDormand hits the road as a campervan dwelling nomad.

Another Round

Synopsis of the synopsis: Four Danish school teachers  start boozing to see what happens… (answer, they get drunk)

The United States vs Billie Holiday

Synopsis of the synopsis: Billie Holiday biopic and American civil rights struggle.


Synopsis of the synopsis: Is it 2021 or 1934? Oldman by name and nature, the world’s second most famous Gary after Linnekar has a fascinating Citizen Kane evoking film here.

Watch on Netflix now…

Malcolm & Marie

Synopsis of the synopsis: Still in black and white, and another film about film, but otherwise a million miles from Mank, exploring a couple’s relationship.

Watch on Netflix now…

Pieces Of A Woman

Synopsis of the synopsis: A dead baby, grief and misery.

Watch on Netflix now…

The Life Ahead

Synopsis of the synopsis: An 85 year-old Sophia Loren was last up for an Oscar in 1965, looks like she might be again.

Watch on Netflix now…


Synopsis of the synopsis: Another Korean film, this time examining the American dream. The trailer made me well up, not sure why.

The Father

Synopsis of the synopsis: You can’t keep Olivia Colman away from awards season, and joined with Anthony Hopkins in this film about progressive memory loss, that looks like a good thing.

Hillbilly Elegy

Synopsis of the synopsis: Hope and despair in redneck country…

Watch on Netflix now…

Judas And The Black Messiah

Synopsis of the synopsis: The Black Panthers and the FBI’s efforts to infiltrate it. Feels a bit more real this year.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Synopsis of the synopsis: Jazz and 1920s America. Posthumous award for Chadwick Boseman?

Watch on Netflix now…


Synopsis of the synopsis: Kooky but rather beautiful Pixar movie. Supporting cast includes Graham Norton and Richard Ayoade! It seems weird that someone must’ve seen Norton in Will Farrell’s Eurovision and said ‘get me that guy’…

Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here