2021 wasn’t 2020, but it wasn’t exactly normal, either. This was especially true for movie lovers. Thanks to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, many of us returned to movie theaters for the first time in more than a year to watch the biggest blockbusters.
However, COVID-19 is still very much a threat, and new variants make crowded theatergoing a risk many would rather not take. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to watch everything from arthouse flicks to studio tentpoles online. Certain companies may not like that I can watch The Matrix Resurrections at home on day one via HBO Max, but I appreciate the flexibility.
Another year of movies means another Academy Awards. The Oscars return on Sunday, March 27 on ABC to celebrate the silver screen and its biggest stars. We recently learned which films were nominated for the 94th annual ceremony, and once again movies backed by streaming services continue to earn major accolades from a Hollywood community once hostile to them. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has accepted that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others make original, Oscar-caliber movies now. Fortunately for streaming fans, that means there’s nothing stopping you from watching these contenders at home ahead of the main event.
Here’s how you can watch the 2021 Oscar-nominated movies online. A handful of featured films aren’t available to watch digitally yet, but that should change in the future.
Director Kenneth Branagh bears his dramatic soul in this coming-of-age story set during The Troubles in North Ireland. Belfast is available to purchase online via Amazon or similar services.
CODA (Apple TV+)
CODA tells the story of the only hearing member in a deaf family (a Child of Deaf Adults), and the unique struggles she faces. Apple is determined to make Apple TV+ a home for quality films, and that’s where you can stream this flick.
Don’t Look Up (Netflix)
Adam McKay and his celebrity friends deliver a blunt metaphor for the oncoming climate disaster that might be the most stressful “comedy” ever made. Before the world ends, check out Don’t Look Up on Netflix.
Drive My Car (Still in Theaters)
Taking inspiration from a number of Haruki Murakami short stories, Drive My Car follows the personal crisis of a theater actor as he attempts to direct a Chekhov play. Many acclaimed international films eventually find their way to American streaming services, but for now you’ll need to wait until you can rent or purchase this one.
Denis Villeneuve finally gives these giant sand worms the love they deserve in this lavish adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel—or, at least the first half of it. Like fellow Warner Bros. movies, Dune appeared for a limited time on HBO Max. As you wait for it to return, you can rent or purchase the movie right now.
King Richard (Buy)
Will Smith transforms himself into Richard Williams, the father destined to coach daughters Venus and Serena into tennis royalty. Like Dune, King Richard initially premiered on HBO Max for a limited time. Until it returns, you’ll have to purchase it.
Recommended by Our Editors
Licorice Pizza (Still in Theaters)
Paul Thomas Anderson returns with this nostalgic look at early 1970s young California adulthood in the shadow of New Hollywood. An undisputed auteur, PTA made sure you had to see Licorice Pizza in theaters first. There’s no word on when it’ll hit streaming service or digital platforms.
Nightmare Alley (Hulu/HBO Max)
Guillermo Del Toro follows up his Oscar-winning The Shape of Water with another freak show. A new adaptation of the 1946 novel, Nightmare Alley mixes film noir thrills with dark carnival delights. Stream it now on Hulu and HBO Max.
The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
Jane Campion’s Western drama adaptation earned the most Oscar nominations this year. If you want to back a winning horse, watch The Power of the Dog on Netflix.
West Side Story (Disney+/HBO Max)
Who would be bold enough to remake one of the most important and beloved musicals of all time? Steven Spielberg. Musicals practically demand to be seen on big screens with large energetic crowds, so we’re not surprised West Side Story went with a theaters-only approach. If you can wait until March 2, the movie will be streaming on Disney+ and HBO Max.
Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem- Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime Video)
Benedict Cumberbatch- The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
Andrew Garfield- Tick, Tick … Boom! (Netflix)
Will Smith- King Richard (Buy)
Denzel Washington- The Tragedy of Macbeth (Apple TV+)
Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain- The Eyes of Tammy Faye (HBO Max)
Olivia Colman- The Lost Daughter (Netflix)
Penélope Cruz- Parallel Mothers (Not currently streaming)
Nicole Kidman- Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime Video)
Kristen Stewart- Spencer (Hulu)
Actor in a Supporting Role
Actress in a Supporting Role
Jessie Buckley- The Lost Daughter (Netflix)
Ariana DeBose- West Side Story (Disney+/HBO Max on March 2)
Judi Dench- Belfast (Buy)
Kirsten Dunst- The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
Aunjanue Ellis- King Richard (Buy)
Animated Feature Film
International Feature Film
Drive My Car- Japan
Flee- Denmark (Hulu)
The Hand of God- Italy (Netflix)
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom- Bhutan (Roku/Vudu)
The Worst Person in the World- Norway
Documentary Short Subject
Animated Short Film
Live Action Short Film
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How to Watch the 2022 Oscar-Nominated Movies Online