This may be the best pre-Oscar season of all time for movie fans, because never before have so many nominated films been available to stream on major platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu and Paramount+ before the awards show in March. We’ve rounded up a stunning 21 nominated films streaming now (or coming no later than March 2). So make sure your subscriptions are up to date (or grab some new ones!) and enjoy this new bounty of Oscar gold. You can link to streaming platforms from our alphabetical list, below.
In a documentary without narration, view 51 scenes from the new China, where workers aspire to make the Chinese Dream come true with jobs that pay $2.99 and sometimes even offer a place to sit down instead of standing up all day. They vie to make pencils, vape pens, Keep America Great merch and eerie sex dolls, or learn to be British butlers (“No matter how he humiliates you, pretend to be obedient”). But don’t bother to apply if you’re over 38, warns one employer.
Watch it: Ascension, on Paramount+
Being the Ricardos
3 nominations, including Best Actress and Best Actor
Nicole Kidman, 54, plays a brittle Lucille Ball, whose I Love Lucy ruled 1950s TV. Writer-director Aaron Sorkin, 60 (The West Wing), makes the love-and-loathe story between Ball and her on-screen and real-life Cuban American husband, Desi Arnaz (a loose and engaged Javier Bardem, 52), a workplace dramedy unfolding in a single crisis-plagued week. The controlling leading lady’s alleged communist past and Arnaz’s infidelity threaten both the sitcom and their marriage. J.K. Simmons, 67, steals the show as William Frawley, the sardonic, hard-drinking actor who played the Ricardos’ neighbor Fred.
Watch it: Being the Ricardos, on Amazon Prime
7 nominations, including Best Picture
This semi-autobiographical masterpiece from Kenneth Branagh (61) focuses on a sensitive kid (Jude Hill) playing war with a wooden sword and a trash-can-lid shield as grownup Protestants and Catholics battle in the streets for real. Ciarán Hinds (69) and Judi Dench (87) are radiant as the hero’s warmly waggish grandparents. It evokes a time and place through a child’s eyes, and makes you feel part of the torn town and the unbreakable family.
Watch it: Belfast, on Amazon Prime
3 nominations, including Best Picture
In this irresistible coming-of-age tale of a CODA, or child of deaf adults, Ruby (Emilia Jones) helps her irascible hearing-impaired folks (Marlee Matlin, 56, and The Mandalorian’s Troy Kotsur, 53) and brother (Daniel Durant) with the family fishing business in a salty Massachusetts town. She joins the school choir — there’s a cute boy — and proves to be a Glee-level singer with a shot at Berklee College of Music. When Ruby sings “Both Sides Now,” her parents can’t hear it, but they can feel it, bridging both the generation and hearing gaps.
Watch it: CODA, on Apple TV+
Coming 2 America
Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy, 60, who also plays multiple supporting characters) ascends the Zamundan throne after the death of King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones, 91). The rules of succession demand a male heir, which leads him and wingman Semmi (Arsenio Hall, 65) back to Queens — and the illegitimate son (Jermaine Fowler) he unwittingly left behind. Does comic chaos ensue? Definitely. The cast — charismatic Wesley Snipes, 59, as the evil general from Nextdoria; Leslie Jones, 54, as the brassy baby mama; and funky Tracy Morgan, 53, as the lad’s uncle, to name a few — is delicious.
Watch it: Coming 2 America, on Amazon Prime
Don’t Look Up
4 nominations, including Best Picture
In an amazingly star-studded comedy, nerdy Leonardo DiCaprio and punky, nose-ringed Jennifer Lawrence are astronomers who warn America that a comet is about to pulverize Earth. The president (Meryl Streep, 72) and her horrid son and adviser (Jonah Hill) fear the news will hurt their polling numbers. She lets a tech zillionaire nut (superbly weird Mark Rylance, 62) and a Dr. Strangelove–ish general (Ron Perlman, 71) run the calamitous U.S. comet response for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (which really exists).
Watch it: Don’t Look Up, on Netflix
Drive My Car
In a brilliant adaptation of a story by Japanese literary giant Haruki Murakami, a traumatically widowed man directs a Hiroshima stage production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, starring an actor who may have loved his late wife, and gradually opens his heart to his young chauffeur. It’s an intergenerational classic.