What to Watch Before You Watch The Oscars

The 94th Academy Awards will be on March 27, less than two weeks away. Many nominees – and past winners – are available to stream from the comfort of your home.

The Netflix Selections

Streaming giant Netflix had two films score Best Picture nominations, and hosts several other nominees from this year and years past.

The Power of the Dog – The Netflix period Western has a leading 12 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Jane Campion. The film is based on a 1967 novel about a conflict between two brothers in 1920s Montana. Leading cast all received nominations, including Benedict Cumberbatch (Best Actor), Kirsten Dunst (Best Supporting Actress), and Jesse Plemons and Kode Smit-McPhee (both for Best Supporting Actor). The Power of the Dog has a 94 percent critics score and a 77 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, but National Review’s culture critics and actor Sam Elliott were much less complimentary.

Don’t Look Up – Adam McKay’s insufferable, heavy-handed and poorly-designed climate change satire earned 4 nominations including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay cowritten by McKay and David Sirota, the socialist journalist and ex-Bernie Sanders senior advisor. So basically, it’s clickbait for Academy Awards voters, who tend to be older, white progressives.

Other contenders available on Netflix: psychological drama The Lost Daughter (3 nominations including Best Actress for Olivia Coleman) and Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed musical Tick, Tick… Boom! (2 nominations including Best Actor for Andrew Garfield).

Unimpressed with this year’s nominees?

Netflix boasts an ample supply of Best Picture runners up from years past, including western There Will Be Blood (2007 BP nominee), prison movie The Green Mile (1999 BP nominee) based on the Steven King novel, Robert DeNiro’s presidential assassination attempt-inspiring performance in Taxi Driver (1976 BP nominee) and Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012 BP nominee).

Hulu’s Highlights

Nightmare Alley – This neo-noir thriller stars Bradley Cooper as a carnival worker on the make in the 1930s. Nightmare Alley received positive reviews, especially for its visuals, but flopped at the box office.

Spencer –Kristen Stewart’s tour de force as Princess Diana is well worth the watch. Stewart’s Best Actress-nominated performance depicts the Princess of Wales over Christmas weekend in the last weekend before the breakup of her marriage to Prince Charles.

Best Picture Central Hulu features several Best Picture winners from recent years including: road film Nomadland (2020), Korean thriller Parasite (2019), monster erotica romantic fantasy The Shape of Water (2017), British-Indian drama Slumdog Millionaire (2008), crime drama Crash (2005), family dramedy Terms of Endearment (1983), and La La Land, which was infamously awarded Best Picture by mistake in 2016 instead of the actual winner, Moonlight.

Disney Plus: It’s Time to Talk About Bruno

Fun for the Family – Disney streams several family-friendly nominees, including Steven Spielberg’s diverse (but for some, not diverse enough) remake of West Side Story (7 nominations including Best Picture), Emma Stone as Cruella, and animated features Encanto, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon

The Vast Disney Library – Disney Plus’ immense collection includes many winners from years past, including Pinocchio, Dumbo, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin (now with a content warning for “outdated cultural references”), The Lion King, Pocahontas, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, and Brave. You and your children will not run out of award-winning content anytime soon.

HBO Max: The Classic Movie Motherlode

Dune – Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic based on the Frank Herbert novel secured 10 nominations, including for Best Picture. The two-and-a-half hour movie is only Part 1 of the Dune story, with Part 2 to come in fall 2023.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Jessica Chastain’s titular send-up of the disgraced televangelist picked up a Best Actress nomination as well as Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

Nightmare Alley and West Side Story – If you don’t subscribe to Hulu or Disney Plus, respectively, you can also watch these films on HBO Max.

Turner Classic Movies – HBO Max is the streaming home of Turner Classic Movies, and the service’s TCM Hub is a film buff’s dream. TCM’s Oscar Celebration highlights a different Oscar winner for every day of March. You can watch classic performances including: Sidney Poitier as a Philadelphia cop in the racist Deep South in In the Heat of the NightCher’s Best Actress-winning turn in romantic comedy MoonstruckSusan Sarandon and Geena Davis as fugitive housewives Thelma & Louise; and classics like Gone with the Wind and Network; and Best Picture winners The Departed, Ben-Hurand Argo.

Whether you want to watch this year’s nominees, or if you prefer classic movies less infected with wokeness, you have plenty to choose from across the leading streaming services.

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© Dominic Moore, 2022