Remember when theaters became a veritable festival of the best films of the year the weeks after the Academy Award nominations were announced? Studios would rerelease films from earlier in the season and platform releases would expand as audiences sought out the acclaimed films they missed in anticipation of the Oscar ceremonies.
That still exists to come extent and devoted filmgoers still prefer the theatrical experience to home viewing when possible. But for most of us, home video where we catch up with movies, and in the era of streaming the window between big screen release small screen availability has shrunk to, in some cases, a matter of weeks. As of this posting, seven of the ten films nominations for best picture for the 96th Academy Awards are available to stream, and by the time the Oscars are announced on Sunday, March 10, most (if not all) of the films nominated any each and every category will be readily available through VOD or subscription service.
The three best picture nominees still exclusively in theaters are Yorgos Lathimos’ provocative Poor Things (eleven nominations in all), Cord Jefferson’s witty satire American Fiction and Jonathan Glazer’s Holocaust drama “Zone of Interest” (five nominations apiece), along with animated feature nominee The Boy and the Heron from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki. The rest of the best picture nominees are available to view at home as a video-on-demand rental or from a streaming service.
This year’s frontrunner is Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer (VOD). His ambitious, three-hour historical drama about the father of atomic bomb was both a critical and popular success and earned 13 nominations, including best director, actor (Cillian Murphy), supporting actress (Emily Blunt), supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr.), and adapted screenplay. Currently available on VOD, it comes to Peacock on February 16.
Martin Scorsese’s sweeping Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple TV+), based on the devastating nonfiction book by David Grann, dramatizes the devastating reign of terror perpetrated against member of the Osage people in the 1920s. It picked up an impressive ten nominations, including best director, cinematography, supporting actor (Robert DeNiro), and actress for Mountlake Terrace High School graduate and current Seattle resident Lily Gladstone.
The biggest hit of 2023, however, was a fantasy based on a toy doll played with almost exclusively by young girls. Greta Gerwig’s savvy, smart, and playful Barbie (Max, VOD) tackled issues of self-image, empowerment, and patriarchy with cheeky humor, fashion excess, and lots and lots of pink. It earned eight nominations in all, including the screenplay by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, best supporting actor (Ryan Gosling), and supporting actress (America Ferrara).
Maestro (Netflix), Bradley Cooper’s biographical drama about the life and career of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, came away with seven nomination, including actor (Cooper) and actress (Carey Mulligan).
Much smaller in scope is The Holdovers (Peacock), the low-key comic drama that reunited Sideways director Alexander Payne and star Paul Giamatti, who picked up one of the film’s five nominations along with supporting actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
Anatomy of a Fall (VOD), a French drama that transforms into a courtroom thriller from director Justine Triet, was not put forward in the international feature category but picked up five nominations including best director, original screenplay, and actress (Sandra Huller) as well as picture.
The intimate Past Lives (VOD), Celine Song’s drama of childhood sweethearts who reunite after living radically different lives, also earned a nomination for its original screenplay,
Other nominated films available to stream are listed by service (most are also available on VOD).
In addition to Maestro, you can stream two of the animated feature nominees—the visually inventive Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse and the playful adventure fantasy Nimona—and international feature nominee Society of the Snow from Spain.
Also streaming: Rustin with best actor nominee Colman Domingo, Nyad with best actress nominee Annette Benning and supporting actress Jodie Foster, May December, nominated for original screenplay, El Conde, which earned a nod for its cinematography, and “American Symphony,” which features the nominated song “It Never Went Away.”
And in the short film categories, you can stream live-action short nominees The After and Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
You can currently stream Elemental, a nominee for animated feature, and documentary Bobi Wine: The People’s President, a profile of the pop star turned politician who risked his life to challenge Uganda’s dictatorship.
Also streaming: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which earned a nod for visual effects, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, nominated for the original score by John Williams.
The science fiction adventure The Creator picked up a nomination for sound and Flamin’ Hot was nominated for original song for “The Fire Inside.”
Documentary feature nominee The Eternal Memory surveys the Chilean journalist Augusto Góngora as he tries to hold on to his identity while he succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease.
Also streaming: Golda, starring Helen Mirren as Golda Meir, was nominated for makeup and hairstyling and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning picked up nominations for sound and visual effects, while The ABCs of Book Banning earned a nomination for documentary short.
Two of the nominees for documentary feature are currently available as a video-on-demand rental: Four Daughters, which profiles a Tunisian family where two of the four daughter were radicalized by Islamic extremists, and 20 Days in Mariupol, which observes the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the besieged city of Mariupol.