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Watch Oscar nominees shine (before their big roles) in these streaming classics

The announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominees has prompted quite a bit of discussion regarding the committee’s selection process, but you can’t argue that this year’s Oscar nominees gave audiences some impressively memorable performances.

While you can still see many of the year’s Oscar-nominated films in theaters, you don’t have to let a film’s limited theatrical run or disappointing box-office performance stop you from seeing this year’s nominees do what they do best. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your home.

There are plenty of fantastic films featuring each of this year’s top Oscar contenders available to stream online, including a few that earned their own Oscar nominations — and wins — for their cast and crew. We’ve put together a list of some of the best projects from each of this year’s Best Actor and Best Actress nominees that you can watch online — complete with links directly to the flicks —  so you can get your Oscar movie marathon started a little early this year.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Bryan Cranston for Trumbo

Breaking Bad

Sure, Trumbo star Bryan Cranston earned multiple Primetime Emmy nominations as the bumbling father on family sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, but it was his portrayal of chemistry teacher Walter White that will be remembered as one of the most iconic roles in television history. Over the course of five seasons, Cranston and series creator Vince Gilligan put Walter White through one ordeal after another in his quest to secure his family’s well-being after he’s diagnosed with cancer and turns to making methamphetamine in order to earn fast money. The series is widely regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time, and earned 16 Primetime Emmy Awards by the time its series finale aired in 2013. Breaking Bad currently hold the Guinness World Record as the highest-rated show in television history.


Matt Damon for The Martian

Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck co-wrote this 1997, Oscar-nominated drama that casts Damon as a brilliant Boston laborer who hides his genius from the world, but is forced to confront his potential when he begins court-mandated therapy with a psychology professor played by Robin Williams. Along with earning universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, Good Will Hunting was also nominated for nine Academy Awards — including the coveted “Best Picture” nomination. Williams earned a well-deserved Oscar for his role in the film, and co-writers Damon and Affleck took home the Academy Award for the year’s “Best Original Screenplay.” Read our full review of The Martian here.

Netflix Hulu Plus iTunes Google Play

Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant

The Wolf of Wall Street

Although he has yet to take home an award, Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to the Academy Awards. Just two years ago, he received his fourth nomination in the “Best Actor” category for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s black comedy about a Wall Street stockbroker’s meteoric rise and subsequent downfall amid the corruption, fraud, and excesses that he built his fortunes upon.

Hulu Plus EPIX iTunes Google Play

Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs

Inglourious Basterds

Before his starring role as Apple’s iconic co-founder, Michael Fassbender played one of many memorable supporting roles in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-nominated World War II ensemble film Inglourious Basterds. The film casts Fassbender as Lieutenant Archie Hicox, a film critic specializing in German cinema, who becomes a key player in a mission to assassinate Adolf Hitler during a screening of a Nazi propaganda film. Along with eight Academy Award nominations, Inglourious Basterds also earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for the year’s best cast.

Netflix iTunes Google Play

Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl

The Theory of Everything

On the hunt to become only the third actor to win back-to-back Academy Awards in the “Best Actor” category (joining Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks), Eddie Redmayne took home the coveted award last year for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The film is a big-screen adaptation of Jane Wilde Hawking’s memoir about her life with her ex-husband, who’s recognized as one of the modern era’s most brilliant minds despite suffering from a debilitating motor neuron disease that slowly took away much of his physical control and left him paralyzed.

HBO iTunes Google Play

Next page: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett for Carol

The Aviator

A two-time Oscar winner herself, Cate Blanchett portrayed four-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn in this critically acclaimed 2004 biopic of aviation pioneer and entrepreneur Howard Hughes. The film earned Leonardo DiCaprio one of his five “Best Actor” nominations, but it was Blanchett who took home an Oscar for her portrayal of Hepburn, who spent several years in a relationship with the eccentric aviator.

Netflix iTunes Google Play

Brie Larson for Room

Short Term 12

This 2013 drama casts Brie Larson as the supervisor of a group home for troubled children who’s forced to confront some serious issues of her own while dealing with the problems plaguing the residents of the facility. The well-received film earned both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival when it premiered in 2013, and is written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who based the story on his own experiences working at a similar facility.

Netflix iTunes Google Play

Jennifer Lawrence for Joy

Silver Linings Playbook

She’s become a regular fixture at the Academy Awards, but Jennifer Lawrence took home her first Oscar in 2013 for playing a young widow who deals with her depression by training for a dance competition in this film directed by David O. Russell, who went on to direct Lawrence again in both American Hustle and Joy — all of which earned Oscar nominations for Lawrence and Russell. Along with Lawrence, the film features Bradley Cooper as a man suffering from bipolar disorder who attempts to get his life back after spending time in a psychiatric hospital, only to become involved with Lawrence’s character as he attempts to see the “silver linings” in his experiences.

Netflix iTunes Google Play

Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years


A veteran character actress with over 115 credits on her resume, Charlotte Rampling played the brutally honest mother of two sisters with a strained relationship in this bizarre 2013 film from director Lars von Trier. The sisters’ relationship is put to the test when one sister — played by Kirsten Dunst — is to be married on the eve of a massive planet’s collision with Earth. A surreal exploration of depression, the film netted Dunst a “Best Actress” award at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.


Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn


One of the youngest actresses ever to receive an Oscar nomination, Saoirse Ronan first earned critical acclaim for her supporting role in 2007’s Atonement, but received mainstream attention for her role in the 2011 action thriller Hanna, in which she played a teenage girl trained from an early age to be a deadly assassin. The film reunited Ronan with Atonement director Joe Wright, and was widely considered one of the most innovative action films of the year due to its impressive fight choreography and Ronan’s portrayal of the lethal teenager on a mission to take down an enigmatic CIA operative (played by fellow Oscar nominee Cate Blanchett).

iTunes Google Play

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