• Ciarán Hinds
As Belfast’s Pop, he dispenses twinkly-eyed wisdom.
• Jared Leto
Since House of Gucci is like The Godfather with sequins, he plays a Fredo-like character — the family’s treacherous black sheep.
• Timothy Spall
As Princess Di’s royal controller in Spencer, he radiates infinitely well-bred menace.
• David Strathairn
His unfortunate fortune-teller in Nightmare Alley is a soft heart in a hardboiled world.
Best Grownup Love Story
• 23 Walks
A poignant nod to retiree romance between dog walkers who discover a human they like as much as their pooches.
The grandparents in the story may have gray hair, but their hearts still skip for each other.
• The Duke
A wild idealist and his sensible-shoes wife prove opposites attract, and somehow endure.
• The Tragedy of Macbeth
Sure they’re killers, but they have the best marriage Shakespeare ever wrote.
Its love story rings true — maybe because it’s written by Dinklage’s wife Erica Schmidt.
Best Intergenerational Film
• C’mon, C’mon
Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Norman bond believably as an oddball uncle and nephew.
• The Tender Bar
Ben Affleck plays a fatherless boy’s uncle in one of his most affecting performances yet.
• King Richard
A portrait of a couple and their five ambitious kids.
The saga of a clan that finds it easier to communicate by sign language than connect emotionally.
Proof that three generations can live side by side in peace.
Best Buddy Picture
• Queen Bees
Ellen Burstyn, Ann Margret, Loretta Devine, and Jane Curtin star in a comedy that’s like a Mean Girls for grownups.
• 12 Mighty Orphans
The shamelessly uplifting true tale of a coach (Luke Wilson) who inspires his scrawny orphanage kids all the way to the Texas football championships.
• Off the Rails
Women in their 50s fulfill their late friend’s last wish: that they get go see a sunset in the Mallorca cathedral.
Tom Hanks’ character has two buddies: his dog and his robot.
• The Harder They Fall
Two rival Wild West gangs are gunning for each other — but they each really love their own outlaw crew.
• The Harder They Fall
There were few more star-studded movies in 2021, and none can match this vast Black cast playing fictionalized versions of actual Black characters from America's cowboy past.
• Don’t Look Up
Another starry romp, a comedy about the end of the world.
• Nightmare Alley
The film has what they call in football "bench strength": great actors make every character resonate.
• House of Gucci
Al Pacino, Lady Gaga and Salma Hayek are just some of the stars in a show as stylish as the design clan itself.
• West Side Story
It's like a gang war of terrific actors, and they all win — as does the audience.
Best Time Capsule
It puts you in Princess Diana's shoes, and in her time.
• Licorice Pizza
A love letter to the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s.
It makes 1969 come alive as a life-or-death drama.
• Being the Ricardos
The definitive portrait of the definitive '50s couple and show.
• West Side Story
It tells the story of Manhattan's West Side when it was a center of African American and Afro-Caribbean culture.
The true story of Julia Child, who popularized French cuisine in America.
• Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
A landmark 1969 outdoor concert of Black talent, as amazing as Woodstock.
• The Beatles: Get Back
The last days of the Fabs, recaptured.
• My Name is Pauli Murray
Get to know the Black lawyer who influenced Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall.
• Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
A history of the fight for justice.
Best Foreign Film
• Sheep Without a Shepherd
A thriller from China.
• There Is No Evil
A film shot in secret and smuggled out of Iran.
• The Hand of God
Paolo Sorrentino's Italian memoir film.
• Drive My Car
A haunting film from Japan about recovering from grief.
• Two of Us
A French film that proves love only deepens in one's 70s.
• Jane Campion
Besides her AARP honor, pundits predict that she is the likeliest winner of the screenwriting Oscar for The Power of the Dog — it would be her second Oscar nom after 1993’s The Piano.
• Kenneth Branagh
Based on his childhood, Belfast is the only 2021 screenplay that took a lifetime to write.
• Guillermo del Toro/Kim Morgan
One of the finest writers who also directs, and Morgan, arguably the best film critic-turned-filmmaker since Bogdanovich, craft a gorgeous noir in Nightmare Alley.
• Paul Thomas Anderson
The bard of San Fernando Valley (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) writes his sweetest tribute to the place yet in Licorice Pizza.
• Tony Kushner
The Angels in America playwright who writes highbrow Spielberg movies (Munich, Lincoln) helped make West Side Story more diverse, more historical and more timely for today.
• Jean Smart
At 70, she aces the role of a lifetime, as a sardonic Las Vegas stand-up comic in Hacks.
• Gillian Anderson
Her proud Margaret Thatcher in The Crown holds her own against the queen.
• Sandra Oh
As a beleaguered English department head in The Chair, the Killing Eve star does A-plus work.
• Lily Tomlin
In Grace and Frankie, she depicts issues of aging with respect, hilarity and precision.
• Andie MacDowell
In Maid, she's a manic mother to the heroine, played by her real-life daughter Margaret Qualley.
• Michael Keaton
The master of ripped-from-the-headlines dramas plays a doctor who’s caught up in the opioid epidemic on Dopesick.
• Kevin Costner
He rides high in the saddle as a ranch patriarch in the smash hit Yellowstone.
• Ewan McGregor
In Halston, he movingly portrays the celebrity fashion mogul and Studio 54 overpartier.
• Billy Porter
He brilliantly plays Pray Tell, the MC of New York’s 1980s drag ballroom scene, in Pose.
• Martin Short
He steals the show as a desperate, purple-clad Broadway-flop director turned sleuth in Only Murders in the Building.
Best TV Series
It’s funny, and a profound meditation on aging and intergenerational bonding.
• Ted Lasso
An infinitely cynicism-free comedy about an unstoppably optimistic U.S. football coach hired to coach an eccentric U.K. soccer team. He knows naught about soccer, but all about pleasing people.
• The Chair
A wicked satire of collegiate cancel culture and irascible professors at war.
• The Crown
The show that pulls back the curtain on Britain’s royal family keeps improving, with the entrance of Anderson’s Thatcher and Emma Corrin’s Diana, who rattled a closetful of family skeletons.
A drama-comedy about a feuding media mogul’s family, it boasts TV’s sharpest dialogue, nastiest characters and logically knottiest plots.
Best Limited Series/TV Movie
• Mare of Easttown
The year’s best murder mystery is also an absorbing portrait of a small town full of unkeepable secrets, with indelible performances by Kate Winslet, Jean Smart and Julianne Nicholson.
The tragic yet inspiring saga of the genius who created the Jackie Kennedy pillbox hat and Liza Minnelli’s signature look.
• The Underground Railroad
A masterpiece adapted from Colson Whitehead’s historical fantasia about a woman’s escape from slavery into a dreamscape world.
A fact-based story about a single mom’s struggle with poverty, and her own bipolar mother.
• Nine Perfect Strangers
Nicole Kidman brilliantly plays the shady guru at a California wellness spa.