With the Oscars just over a week away, some of us need to play catch-up with this year’s nominees. While some of the year’s biggest players have already been covered here, this article serves as a much-needed Part 2. Get on top of these awards contenders before they take home the big prize!
What to watch on Netflix
A true showcase for the ever-rising star that is Ana de Armas, Blonde snagged the actress her first Oscar nomination. Understandably controversial, the film is an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ novel of the same name, a semi-fictionalized take on Marilyn Monroe’s turbulent life. It’s hardly your traditional biopic, but that’s part of the appeal of the film. Whether you think it contributes something new to the oeuvre of Marilyn Monroe depictions or wallows in the familiar, the movie is certain to get you thinking. Nominations: 1, Best Actress.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story
Filmmaker Rian Johnson is now 2-for-2 in nominations for his irreverent Knives Out series. Like the original, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story is being recognized for its whip-smart writing. This second installment of Benoit Blanc’s delightfully delirious investigations sees the accented detective attending a strange murder mystery on an Elon Musk-adjacent tech billionaire’s private island. Daniel Craig returns as the star, but the film’s new ensemble features a bevy of brilliant performances from Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., and Janelle Monáe. Nominations: 1, Best Adapted Screenplay.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Legendary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic output now has a whopping 25 Academy Award nominations thanks to Pinocchio. The director’s first foray into animation is a smashing success, with his trademark attention to whimsical detail becoming fully realized in the stop-motion medium. It’s a darker take on the children’s tale than some may expect, taking place in Italy during World War II, but the story becomes all the richer as a result. The film is an artistic animated triumph, and it shows that del Toro still has plenty of new tricks up his sleeve. Nominations: 1, Best Animated Feature Film.
The Sea Beast
Disney (DIS)-Pixar veteran Chris Williams turned to Netflix for his wonderful animated adventure film The Sea Beast. For centuries, humans have hunted the dangerous sea beasts, with ship crews being held in high esteem by crown and country alike. But when new naval advancements threaten the hunters’ work, they must go after their own mystical Moby Dick — only to find out more about the creature than they ever expected. It’s a movie about a journey in more ways than one, as much of a visual treat as it is an emotional one. Nominations: 1, Best Animated Feature Film.
What to watch on Hulu
Triangle of Sadness
Class (un)consciousness undergirds two-time Palme d’Or-winning director Ruben Östlund’s latest film, Triangle of Sadness. This epic satire takes place on a superyacht, centering on the ultra-rich and/or ultra-powerful. Models, influencers, techies, and even weapons manufacturers make up the cruise’s privileged guests, who are diligently waited upon by the ship’s crew. Their luxury is short-lived, however, as chaos begins to reign on board. The satire becomes a survival story for the ages, equipped with a sharp eye on the affluent and their ultimate uselessness. Nominations: 3, including Best Picture.
Fire of Love
One of the most fascinating, awe-inspiring documentaries in recent memory comes to light in Fire of Love. The film tells the love story of volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft, focusing not just on the couple but their passion for the volcanoes they studied. It uses entirely archival footage, something the Kraffts had no dearth of; each had a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for filmmaking, and what they captured is some of the most amazing natural footage you’ll ever set your eyes on. Nominations: 1, Best Documentary Feature.
What to watch on Amazon Prime
An empowering legal drama that tells the true story of Argentina’s Trial of the Juntas, Argentina, 1985 is a stirring film. It focuses on a public prosecutor’s mission to make the newly democratic government’s case against the military junta that had ruled the nation with deadly force. The repressive past clashes with the hopeful present and plans for a liberated future, and the film shines light on this optimism. It’s a courtroom drama that already played out in front of the world, but the movie makes it just as engaging 40 years later. Nominations: 1, Best International Feature Film.
What to watch on HBO Max
All That Breathes
A winner at both Sundance and Cannes, All That Breathes is a fascinating, beautiful film that captures the crisis inherent in much of modern life. The documentary focuses on two brothers who run a bird rescue and clinic in New Delhi, India. They grew up seeing birds soaring overhead, but in the years since, the city has grown exponentially. Pollution cloaks the skies, and birds are now dropping like flies. The movie meditates on the ecological tragedy the brothers — and, indeed, their audience — find themselves in, but it’s not without hope. Nominations: 1, Best Documentary Feature.
Perhaps made more poignant because of the events that followed the film in the subject’s home country, Navalny takes a hard look at the present state of resistance in Russia. The documentary revolves around Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the investigation into the poisoning that nearly killed him. As more things get uncovered, the film starts to turn into a real-life spy thriller of sorts, all while showing off the intensity of the fight against authoritarianism and Vladimir Putin’s iron-fisted reign in Russia. Nominations: 1, Best Documentary Feature.
What to watch on Apple TV+
Though Jennifer Lawrence has the well-earned reputation of an awards favorite, it’s her costar Brian Tyree Henry that got the nomination for his spectacular work in Causeway. This small but poignant film follows the recovery journey of two traumatized individuals: Lynsey (Lawrence), a soldier who suffered a brain injury while overseas in Afghanistan, befriends James (Henry), a man who lost much in a deadly car accident, in rehab. They find a much-needed connection in one another, making for a grounded, human drama that centers on the reality and diversity of trauma. Nominations: 1, Best Supporting Actor.
What to watch on Paramount Plus
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Few movies from the past year — or that last century, really — have the heart of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Jenny Slate voices the titular shell in this stop-motion documentary-style exploration of one being’s purpose. Director and co-star Dean Fleischer Camp discovers Marcel and his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and sets out to help them find their long-lost community of other shells and curiously animated inanimate objects. Be prepared to laugh and to cry over this uniquely beautiful film, one that’s able to capture the human experience with the help of a small shell (with shoes on). Nominations: 1, Best Animated Feature Film.
Raucous and raunchy, daring and divisive, Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle’s newest ode to Hollywood is a far cry from his much-beloved La La Land. Babylon embraces the wild west of the developing film industry, taking place almost a full century ago as the movies become a cultural staple. Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Brad Pitt, and Jean Smart serve as just some of the players in the early Hollywood game, each finding (or losing) their niche in the industry as it evolves from silent to sound, risqué to respectable. Nominations: 3, including Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.
What to watch on Disney Plus
A girl’s awkward early teen years are inevitably some of her most memorable, and Turning Red takes that opportunity to tell a magical story about growing up and accepting yourself. Thirteen-year-old Mei has enough on her plate, from a strict mom to her blossoming boy band obsessions, but all that seems insignificant when she discovers that she suffers from an ancestral curse: whenever her emotions get too strong, she turns into a massive red panda. Both culturally specific and socially universal, it’s a wonderful step forward in Pixar’s storytelling aims. Nominations: 1, Best Animated Feature Film.
What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.