Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes the best films, actors, and directors, among many other artists. Oscars enthusiasts can cheer on their favorites and attempt to predict the Best Actress winner or what’s going to take the award for Best Picture. In this category, the Academy membership nominated 10 outstanding films for the Oscar statue in 2022. If you’re looking for ways to catch up on nominees before the ceremony begins on March 27, we created a list that will help you find them on various streaming services.
Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, filmed in luminous black and white, is a touching story about a family and the difficult choices it has to make during a time of political and social turmoil. The film’s plot concerns two parents, Ma and Pa (Caitriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan), who are faced with the most difficult decision of their lives: Whether to leave their beloved hometown of Belfast, their home for generations, or risk their two family’s safety and stay in a city that is plagued by the Troubles.
In Belfast, Balfe, Dornan, Judi Dench, or Ciarán Hinds convincingly play the struggling close-knit family, but it’s a young newcomer, Jude Hill, who succeeds in charming the audience with his wide-eyed portrayal of a child coming of age in a turbulent time in Irish history. Belfast’s touching nostalgia will affect viewers of any age or national origin, leaving the film and its story in their minds long after it has ended.
Where to stream: YouTube, Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play
CODA, a film by Sian Heder, was one of the Sundance Film Festival’s biggest surprises in 2021. This touching, heartwarming comedy-drama follows Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing member of her deaf family from Gloucester, Massachusetts, as she navigates the demands of her family and her ambition to study music. At just 17, she works in the mornings before school to help her parents and brother keep their fishing business afloat. But Ruby desires to join her high school’s choir club and study at a prestigious music school in Boston.
CODA’s reflective narrative and incredible execution on all fronts make it one of the best films of the year. Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, and Eugenio Derbez give outstanding performances, with Jones shining the brightest. Heder tells a story that is frequently dismissed and rarely discussed in film and television, making CODA an important, timeless, and touching film worth checking out.
Where to stream: Apple TV
Don’t Look Up
Don’t Look Up is one of those films that lingers in your thoughts due to its star-studded cast and the satiric tone of its narrative. Adam McKay’s apocalyptic film follows the desperate attempts of Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) and Randall (Leonardo DiCaprio), two astronomers who embark on a media tour journey to warn humanity of a comet that will soon destroy the entire planet. Simultaneously, the President of the United States (Meryl Streep) launches her “Don’t Look Up” campaign, spreading lies and telling society to pretend the comet doesn’t exist.
Lawrence and DiCaprio deliver great performances as the two geeky scientists who, despite their best efforts, can’t quite convince an apathetic world that it’s about to end. McKay and co-writer David Sirota construct the narrative around amusing situations while, at the same time, making a serious statement about humanity’s greed and the dangers of media manipulation. The film has an on-the-nose, inventive script, which makes Don’t Look Up a must-see film.
Where to stream: Netflix
Drive My Car
Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and based on Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same title, Drive My Car revolves around one man’s journey through loss and sudden life changes. Two years after his wife’s death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a stage actor and director, gets an offer to direct a theater production for a festival in Hiroshima. There, the man meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a timid young woman assigned by the festival to drive him around in his red Saab 900.
As the theater production’s premiere approaches, the anticipation among the cast and crew grows. At the same time, Yusuke is forced to face painful truths from his past. With the assistance of his driver, the man also begins to confront the mysteries left behind by his wife. Drive My Car is a haunting road movie about grief and love, with touching performances from Miura and Nishijima. It fills its plentiful three-hour running time with enough compelling performances and dramatic revelations to enthrall audiences of any age.
Where to stream: HBO Max
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel of the same name. The plot follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the young heir of a noble family who sets out on a journey to Arrakis, a desert planet rich in important spice, which creates fuel for space travel. However, the journey is not without obstacles, such as the massive death and destruction caused by their enemies, the Harkonnen.
As the young and naïve Paul, Chalamet continues his string of excellent performances that have made him one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. Dune’s talented cast features Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, and Stellan Skarsgård, and the visually stunning special effects will satisfy die-hard sci-fi aficionados and non-fans alike.
Where to stream: HBO Max and Hulu
Venus and Serena Williams are two of the most well-known sisters in the world of sports. But who exactly is the driving force behind their enormous success and talent? In King Richard, Will Smith plays their father, Richard, who follows a specific plan to ensure his daughters’ success in life. He becomes their coach and contributes to their numerous victories, which include both sisters winning multiple Grand Slam titles.
The film depicts the Williams family defying insurmountable odds amid the low expectations society has placed on them. In addition to Smith’s outstanding performance, the actresses portraying Venus and Serena, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, match his high caliber and hold their own onscreen.
Where to stream: YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, and Apple TV
Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of The Phantom Thread, returns with a slightly biographical take on his time as a wayward California teen. The story of Licorice Pizza follows Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) as they grow up, spend time together, and navigate the perilous waters of first love in California’s San Fernando Valley.
Some elements of the narrative are also based on the memories of director Paul Thomas Anderson and his friend Gary Goetzman. In Licorice Pizza, Anderson crafts an original and unconventional love story that is reminiscent of his early work on such films as Punch-Drunk Love. With complex characters and great acting, Licorice Pizza is about not only first love, but also feeling nostalgic for a time and place, the San Fernando Valley in the ’70s, that exists only in Anderson’s memories.
Where to stream: YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, and Apple TV
Nightmare Alley is a superb remake of Edmund Goulding’s 1947 film of the same name. Guillermo Del Toro’s movie is an elaborate noir, packed with suspense and excellent performances. The film tells the story of Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), an unlucky man who befriends a clairvoyant, Zeena The Seer (Toni Collette), and her husband, Pete (David Strathairn), while working at a traveling carnival in 1940s New York.
Carlisle utilizes the acquired knowledge given by Pete to swindle the elite and wealthy. The con artist devises a scheme to defraud a powerful tycoon, Ezra Grindle (Richard Jenkins), with the help of a mysterious psychologist named Lilith (Cate Blanchett). The film features taut direction, atmospheric cinematography, and a slew of gifted actors that make this remake worth watching. Cooper is fantastic as the increasingly desperate Stan and Blanchett and Rooney Mara stand out as the two main women in Carlisle’s life
Where to stream: HBO Max, Hulu, Apple TV, YouTube, Prime Video, Google Play
The Power of the Dog
In Power of the Dog, Jane Campion transports us to 1925 Montana, where two brothers, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons), own a ranch. After meeting Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst), a widow who runs an inn, George is immediately taken with her. The volatile Phil despises her, believing she is after George’s money, and can’t stand Rose’s adolescent son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who he views as a threat to his fragile masculinity.
The Power of the Dog is undeniably a slow burn that keeps you engaged in the complex story because of its masterful direction, beautiful cinematography, compelling score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and last but not least, the outstanding performances of its four leads. Cumberbatch is superb as the conflicted Phil and the supporting cast shines in this haunting new take on the Western.
Where to stream: Netflix
West Side Story
Almost everybody is familiar with the plot and premise of West Side Story. The story, which takes place in the mid-1950s, is based on William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet and showcases the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
Steven Spielberg takes on the legacy of the original and creates a reimagined version for a modern audience. Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, Rachel Zegler, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, and Rita Moreno are among the talented cast members who charm the audience with their compelling performances.
Where to stream: HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+
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