Here’s Where to Stream the Best Oscar-Nominated Films Before You Watch the Ceremony

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·12 min read

On behalf of everyone who has spent hours obsessively Googling “the best movies to watch right now,” we’d like to thank the Academy for providing us with a plethora of great new titles to catch up on.

After the 2021 Oscar nominees were announced earlier this month, we’ve been knee-deep in a number of films as we prep for Hollywood’s biggest night (on April 25), from Minari and The United States vs. Billie Holiday to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (which, FYI, made Viola Davis the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history). Whether you’re down for a smart comedy or a poignant drama, here’s where you can stream Oscar-nominated films, from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon Prime.

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1. ‘Emma’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling

This delightful period comedy-drama will appeal to Jane Austen fans and comedy lovers alike. Based on Austen’s novel of the same title, the film follows Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), a wealthy and mischievous young woman who decides to meddle in the love lives of her peers by playing matchmaker. Johnny Flynn, Josh O'Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth and Miranda Hart also star.

Stream it on HBO Max

2. ‘Onward’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Animated Feature Film

Set in the fictional town of New Mushroomton, the animated film follows Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), two teenage elf brothers, as they set out to find a mysterious artifact that will grant them another day with their late father. As they embark on their exciting journey, however, they face a number of challenges and make quite a few shocking discoveries that they never prepared for.

Stream it on Disney+

3. ‘Mulan’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design

Yifei Liu stars as the fierce Mulan, who takes it upon herself to help her ailing veteran father, Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma), by posing as a man and serving in the Imperial Army. Mulan manages to fool the entire army, including the commander, but she can only keep up the ruse for so long...

Stream it on Disney+

4. ‘Soul’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score and Best Sound

The Golden Globe-winning movie follows a music teacher named Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), who suffers a near-death experience and lands in another realm before getting his big break as a musician. While trying to reunite his soul with his physical body, he reflects on his past choices and begins to understand what it truly means to have a soul.

Stream it on Disney+

5. ‘Nomadland’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress (Frances McDormand)

Based on Jessica Bruder's non-fiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, the movie centers on Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman in her sixties who, in the wake of the Great Recession, loses her job and decides to travel the country in search of new opportunities.

Stream it on hulu

6. ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ (2021)

Nominated for: Best Actress (Andra Day)

While the film did get mixed reviews from critics, there's no denying that Andra Day shined as the iconic Billie Holiday. Based on Johann Hari’s book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, the movie details how the government targeted the jazz singer for her drug use and because of her controversial song, “Strange Fruit.”

Stream it on Hulu

7. ‘Over the Moon’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Animated Feature Film

After losing her mother to a terminal illness, 13-year-old Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) decides to build a rocket so that she can travel to the moon and meet the mysterious goddess named Chang’e. It’s charming, fun and sure to be a hit for the whole family.

Stream it on Netflix

8. ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ (2021)

Nominated for: Best International Feature Film

The Bosnian war drama film tells the moving story of a UN translator named Aida (Jasna Đuričić), who attempts to save her family after the Army of Republika Srpska takes over the city of Srebrenica. As her family is put at risk, Aida gets access to highly sensitive information that she needs to interpret. But what will this mean for her loved ones?

Stream it on Amazon

9. ‘Another Round’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best International Feature Film and Best Director

Four professors who struggle with unmotivated students are desperate to spice up their dull lives. After engaging in a discussion about the benefits of consuming alcohol, they all embark on a new experiment where they drink on a daily basis.

Stream it on Hulu

10. ‘Collective’ (2019)

Nominated for: Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film

After a massive nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, leaves 27 people dead and 180 injured, a group of journalists launch an investigation into the mismanagement of healthcare by public hospitals—and what they discover is quite disturbing. For the record, Collective is actually the first Romanian film to ever get nominated for an Oscar.

Stream it on Hulu

11. ‘Time’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Documentary

Time is a powerful tale of strength and perseverance that also highlights the many flaws in America’s justice system. In the film, we follow Sibil Fox Richardson, an entrepreneur and mother of six fighting for the release of her husband, Robert Richardson, who’s serving 60 years for a bank robbery that she also participated in.

Stream it on Amazon

12. ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Actor (Chadwick Boseman), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Production Design

Based on August Wilson’s 1982 play of the same name, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom follows the life of legendary Blues singer, Ma Rainey, as she navigates racism in the music industry and rising tensions between her own bandmates. We won’t share any specifics, but trust us when we say that Davis and Boseman’s performances will blow you away.

Stream it on Netflix

13. ‘A Love Song for Latasha’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Documentary Short Subject

In this touching documentary, Sophia Nahli Allison gives the world a glimpse of who Latasha Harlins was before she became a highly publicized victim of racial violence. At just 15 years old, she was shot and killed by a convenience store owner in Los Angeles in 1991. The incident sparked outrage, ultimately leading to the 1992 L.A. riots.. But rather than focusing on the gruesome incident, the film centers more on the memories Latasha shared with her family members and loved ones.

Stream it on Netflix

14. ‘Better Days’ (2019)

Nominated for: Best International Feature Film

The Chinese romantic crime film follows Chen (Zhou Dongyu), a bullied 12th grader who crosses paths with a street thug named Xiao Bei (Jackson Yee) after trying to save him from rival thugs. As they get to know one another, they fall in love and continue to protect each other. But things get rather complicated when Chen’s bully gets murdered and she becomes a top suspect.

Stream it on Amazon

15. ‘One Night in Miami…’ (2021)

Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor (Leslie Odom Jr.), Best Original Song, Best Adapted Screenplay

One Night in Miami... centers on a fictionalized gathering of four real-life icons in 1963, including Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). From thought-provoking discussions to stellar performances, this film is nothing short of brilliant. And while it’s great to see that the movie is being recognized, Regina King totally deserved an Oscar nod for Best Director.

Stream it on Amazon

16. ‘News of the World’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Sound

Tom Hanks is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran who is tasked with escorting a young girl named Johanna (Helena Zengel) to her family. Their long journey, however, is far from smooth.

Stream it on Amazon

17. ‘Crip Camp’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Documentary Feature

Set at Camp Jened, a New York summer camp for teens with disabilities, Crip Camp follows a group of ambitious campers who become disability rights activists and fight for accessibility legislation. It’s by far one of the most inspiring documentaries you’ll ever see.

Stream it on Netflix

18. ‘The Mole Agent’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Documentary Feature

Out of concern for his mother’s wellbeing at a retirement home, a private investigator hires an elderly man to go undercover as a new resident. However, the job proves to be difficult, as he continues to form personal relationships with the others at the home.

Stream it on hulu

19. ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Maria Bakalova)

America's favorite funnyman is back at it again in this Borat sequel, which sees the title character finally released after bringing shame to Kazakhstan. This time, the kooky journalist is on a mission to deliver Johnny the Monkey to America’s president in hopes of redeeming the nation. But of course, when he gets there, it’s not all smooth sailing. Expect a whole lot of laughs and political commentary.

Stream it on amazon

20. ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress (Glenn Close), Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Based on the 2016 memoir of the same name, Hillbilly Elegy follows J. D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), a hard-working Yale student who has to travel back home to Ohio after his mom overdoses on heroin. Both Amy Adams and Glenn Close give outstanding performances in this drama film.

Stream it on Netflix

21. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Original Score

The war film, which was co-written by Spike Lee, follows a group of Black veterans, who call themselves the “Bloods.” The four remaining men, Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) all travel back to Vietnam to look for the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as the hidden fortune that they hid together.

Stream it on Netflix

22. ‘Tenet’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects

Malcolm & Marie's John David Washington stars as a skilled CIA agent, also known as the "Protagonist." After being recruited by an organization called Tenet, he learns to manipulate time and embarks on a mission to prevent World War III.

Stream it on Amazon

23. ‘Pieces of a Woman’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Actress (Vanessa Kirby)

You might want to break out some wine and tissues before you start watching this tearjerker film. In Pieces of a Woman, a home birth goes horribly wrong and Martha Weiss (Vanessa Kirby) is forced to deal with the heartbreaking aftermath, putting a strain on all of her relationships.

Stream it on Netflix

24. ‘Sound of Metal’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Riz Ahmed), Best Supporting Actor (Paul Raci), Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Original Screenplay

The drama film follows a metal drummer named Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed), who performs a number of gigs as part of the heavy metal duo, Blackgammon. But his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he suddenly begins to lose his hearing.

Stream it on Amazon

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25. ‘Promising Young Woman’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), Best Film Editing

The critically acclaimed film centers on Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a cunning med-school dropout who vows to avenge her best friend—in an unconventional way—who was raped by a classmate.

Stream it on Amazon

26. ‘Mank’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried), Best Original Score, Best Sound, Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mank earned the most nominations for this year’s Oscars in addition to the most nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. Set in the 1930s, the movie details the story behind the making of Citizen Kane, one of the greatest films of all time. Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (or “Mank”) struggles to complete his script for Citizen Kane after getting a 90-day deadline by Orson Welles.

Stream it on Netflix

27. ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen), Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing

“Captivating” doesn’t even begin to describe this historical drama. Aside from its impressive ensemble cast, The Trial of the Chicago 7 offers a compelling, dramatized retelling of the real-life trial, where a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters were charged by the U.S. government with conspiracy and trying to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Stream it on Netflix

28. ‘Minari’ (2021)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Steven Yeun), Best Supporting Actress (Youn Yuh-jung) and Best Original Score

The semi-autobiographical drama is loosely based on the upbringing of the film's director, Lee Isaac Chung. The film tells the story of a South Korean family that moves to Arkansas in hopes of obtaining the American dream. Not only does it offer insight into immigrant life, but it also speaks to the importance of family.

Stream it on Amazon

29. ‘Burrow’ (2020)

Nominated for: Best Animated Short Film

In this family-friendly short film, a little brown rabbit is determined to dig the best burrow, despite her lack of skill and experience. Rather than opening up to her new neighbors about this, she isolates herself and starts digging—but it only lands her into more trouble.

Stream it on Disney+

30. ‘The Father’ (2021)

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins) Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design

Based on Florian Zeller's 2012 play, Le Père, the film centers on Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) an elderly man who struggles with dementia. His daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), hires caretakers to assist him, but he continues to reject them. As his memory and health continue to deteriorate, it takes a toll on Anne.

Stream it on Amazon

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