Good news! There's still time to win your Oscars pool — but you have to know the contenders. Because of the pandemic, a record number of nominated films are available to watch from your couch on streaming media before the stars hit the (virtual) red carpet. For your consideration, then: the lowdown on the 30 best nominees for Hollywood's top awards and where to click to watch them (ABC, April 25, 8 p.m. ET).
Nominated for: Best Director, International Feature
Mads Mikkelsen, who plays a schoolteacher battling a midlife crisis by obeying Baudelaire's command to “be drunk always,” gives a performance so vibrant that Thomas Vinterberg got nominated for best director and the film for best international feature.
Watch it: Another Round, on Hulu
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress
Kazakhstan's most famous fictional TV reporter Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) returns to spoof Americans in ambush-comedy skits, but the real star (and best supporting actress nominee) is Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova as Borat's daughter. She's the unexpected Cinderella of this year's Oscar race. Cohen said “I mean, if she doesn't win an Oscar, then I don't know what the Academy's for."
Nominated for: Best Documentary, International Feature
If you liked Spotlight, you'll be riveted by this Oscar contender about Romanian citizens and journalists who uncovered the authorities’ corrupt response to a fire that killed 64 people — and toppled the government.
Watch it: The Collective, on Amazon Prime
Da 5 Bloods
Nominated for: Best Original Score
Longtime Spike Lee collaborator Lindo outdoes himself as a PTSD-afflicted, MAGA hat-wearing veteran who returns with war buddies to Vietnam to search for their leader's lost remains. But only Terence Blanchard's score managed to nab a nomination.
Watch it: Da 5 Bloods, on Netflix
Nominated for: Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design
Anya Taylor-Joy, skyrocketing star of The Queen's Gambit, lights up Jane Austen's story of a selfishly meddlesome maiden, but what the Academy applauded was the film's looks in costume, hair and makeup.
Watch it: Emma., on HBO
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga
Nominated for: Best Original Song
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams are irresistible as a couple of Icelandic singers trying to follow ABBA's route to fame on Europe's big song contest, and the movie's tune “Husavik” is up for best original song in the real world.
Nominated for: Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Film Editing
Sir Anthony Hopkins masterfully portrays a man facing a scarier monster than Hannibal Lecter: Alzheimer's disease. His performance brings viewers inside a mind in the fight of its life. He's up for best actor, Olivia Colman for supporting actress as his daughter. It could also win best picture, among other nominations.
Watch it: The Father, on Amazon Prime
Nominated for: Best Makeup and Hair Styling, Supporting Actress
In a flick about a persnickety rural grandma who steps in to save a grandchild when her own daughter isn't up to the task of parenthood, Glenn Close might finally win an Oscar (this is her eighth acting nomination).
Watch it: Hillbilly Elegy, on Netflix
Judas and the Black Messiah
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor (2 nominations), Picture, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Song
Weirdly, LaKeith Stanfield, who plays the Judas who betrayed assassinated Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, is nominated for best supporting actor, and so is Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton — even though Stanfield is obviously the lead actor. “I'm confused, too,” he said. Both deserve it, and the fact-based film could also win best picture among other honors.
Watch it: Judas and the Black Messiah, on YouTube
The Life Ahead
Nominated for: Best Original Song
Working with her director son, Edoardo Ponti, Sophia Loren is arresting at 86, playing a heartwarming Holocaust survivor and caregiver for streetwalkers’ children. But only the original song, “Io Sì (Seen),” is nominated.
Watch it: The Life Ahead, on Netflix
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Nominated for: Best Actress, Actor, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling
Resplendent with ostrich feathers and gold teeth, Viola Davis growlingly summons the indomitable spirit of America's first professional blues singer. She's up for best actress and the late Chadwick Boseman for best actor as Ma's genius sideman. The evocative film is also up for a number of design nods.
Watch it: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, on Netflix
Nominated for: Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Picture, Director, Original Score, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound
The film's investigation of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz's creative impact on Orson Welles's masterpiece Citizen Kane is a portrait of Hollywood in its morally tarnished golden age. Oscars do love movies about movie history, so it's up for 10 Oscars, including best picture, director, actor (Gary Oldman) and supporting actress (Amanda Seyfried, who's even better than Oldman).
Watch it: Mank, on Netflix
The Midnight Sky
Nominated for: Best Visual Effects
AARP Movies for Grownups Career Achievement winner George Clooney's eye-popping Antarctic spaceship drama is justly up for best visual effects.
Watch it: The Midnight Sky, on Netflix
Nominated for: Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Original Score
A Korean American family chases the American dream from California to a farm in the Ozarks — a trip to the heartland in more ways than one. It's up for six Oscars, including best picture, but we're hoping for Steven Yeun as best actor and Youn Yuh-jung, the Korean Meryl Streep, as supporting actress. She'd be great in a movie pitting her against Glenn Close's Hillbilly Elegy grandma.
Watch it: Minari, on Google Play
The Mole Agent
Nominated for: Best Documentary
In this superb film, a Chilean detective hires an octogenarian widower to sleuth out who's taking advantage of a woman in an assisted-living facility.
Watch it: The Mole Agent, on Amazon Prime
Nominated for: Best Costume Design, Visual Effects
Disney's hit live-action remake of the animated classic about China's woman warrior deservedly earned nominations for costume design and visual effects.
Watch it: Mulan, on Disney+
My Octopus Teacher
Nominated for: Best Documentary
The most heartrending love story of the year is a true one about the filmmaker's relationship with a wild octopus in a South African kelp forest. Spoiler: Octopuses live only one year, and the death scene may make you cry.
Watch it: My Octopus Teacher, on Netflix
News of the World
Nominated for: Best Cinematography, Original Score, Production Design, Sound
In a good, old-fashioned western with True Grit-like gravitas, Tom Hanks plays a Civil War veteran who roams Texas to read newspapers aloud to illiterate townsfolk and rescues a girl caught between white and Native American cultures.
Watch it: News of the World, on Amazon Prime
Nominated for: Best Actress, Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing
As a bold soul in her 60s who loses husband, house and livelihood, best actress nominee Frances McDormand strikes a noble blow here for those who are dispossessed but not downtrodden in a fact-based story nominated for best picture and director, among other honors.
Watch it: Nomadland, on Hulu
One Night in Miami
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor, Original Song
A knockout film about Muhammad Ali's actual 1964 championship bout — witnessed by Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown — and the debate they have about the responsibilities of success. Leslie Odom, Jr., who plays Cooke, is up for both original song and best supporting actor.
Watch it: One Night in Miami, on Amazon Prime
Pieces of a Woman
Nominated for: Best Actress
It's too bad that Ellen Burstyn, 88, who plays a Holocaust survivor whose tough love combats the grief of her daughter's (Vanessa Kirby) over losing a child, didn't become the oldest-ever Oscar nominee in an acting category. But Kirby got a deserved nomination for best actress.
Watch it: Pieces of a Woman, on Netflix
Nominated for: Best Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling
Life is Beautiful Oscar winner Roberto Benigni plays Geppetto in a live-action version of the tale about the puppet boy who goes from the Land of Toys to the Field of Miracles.
Watch it: Pinocchio, on Fandango Now
Promising Young Woman
Nominated for: Best Actress, Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing
Some of filmdom's finest actors anchor a darkly comic revenge fantasy with emotional authenticity, with Carey Mulligan earning a best actress nomination among the film's other honors.
Watch it: Promising Young Woman, on YouTube
Nominated for: Best Animated Feature
Pete Docter broke the record for best animated feature nominations (four) with this exuberant tale of a middle-school band teacher (Jamie Foxx) who beats a midlife crisis and discovers what it means to have a soul. A rare animated feature good for grownups.
Watch it: Soul, on Disney+
Sound of Metal
Nominated for: Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Picture, Original Screenplay, Sound, Film Editing
Best actor nominee Riz Ahmed plays a punk musician losing his hearing, with best supporting actor nominee Paul Raci (in real life a recovering addict whose parents were deaf) as his addiction program director.
Watch it: Sound of Metal, on Amazon Prime
Nominated for: Best Production Design, Visual Effects
Christopher Nolan's latest, wildest sci-fi head-scratcher is nominated for best production design as well as visual effects, which makes sense. The plot makes zero sense, but if you want to find out what happened, read this explanation before (and maybe after) you watch.
Watch it: Tenet, on Apple TV+
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Nominated for: Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Original Song
Aaron Sorkin's vivid dramatization of the real trial of Chicago's 1968 convention demonstrators turns what was a chaotic circus into a thoughtful spotlight on a schism in society.
Watch it: The Trial of the Chicago 7, on Netflix
The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Nominated for: Best Actress
A jazzy biopic that centers on the FBI's undercover setup of jazz immortal Holiday. Andra Day's moving voice may break your heart, make you forget about Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues, and win her best actress.
The White Tiger
Nominated for: Best Adapted Screenplay
If you liked Slumdog Millionaire, you must see this darker movie about class and ambition in India. Its nominated screenplay is based on the Booker Prize-winning best seller about an ambitious, impoverished young man who becomes a rich man's driver, is betrayed, and ruthlessly triumphs against a rigged system.
Watch it: The White Tiger, on Netflix
Tim Appelo is AARP’s film and TV critic. Previously, he was Amazon’s entertainment editor, Entertainment Weekly’s video critic, and a writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, LA Weekly and The Village Voice.