The 2014 Oscars are this Sunday, and you still haven’t seen a good chunk of the nominated films. Normally it wouldn’t bother you, because you are a free bird, but this year you’re attending an Oscar party and really want to sound like you know what you’re talking about. You need to learn to look within for self-affirmation, you know. But that’s a process, and you only have three days and two nights until you have to be able to form a learned opinion on Nebraska.
Here, for your amusement and edification, is a thoroughly researched (I had a spreadsheet) guide to which of this year’s Oscar-nominated films are available online and where you can get them (legally). I’ve scoured all the categories, including the shorts, because you are going to rock this year’s Oscar poll, my friend.
The Usual Suspects
Sadly, none of this year’s major nominees are on Netflix yet, so you’re going to have to shell out some dough.
Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and Blue Jasmine are all on Amazon Instant as well, though 12 Years and Gravity you’ll have to shell out the big, non-rental bucks for. All of those films are also on your Overlord and Master, iTunes. American Hustle, Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Philomena haven’t been released yet, because David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, Martin Scorsese, and Stephen Frears have a personal grudge against you. You know what you did.
The “…Oh, Those Were Nominated”
Among the films with just a few nominations, but you should probably see ‘em anyway and you will, at one point, you swear: You can get Frozen (Original Song, Animated Feature) on iTunes and nowhere else; the DVD isn’t even out yet. Prisoners (Cinematography), All Is Lost (Sound Editing), and Despicable Me 2 (Animated Feature, Original Song) are available for purchase or rental on Amazon or iTunes. Ditto The Great Gatsby (Costume Design, Production Design), Iron Man 3 (Visual Effects), The Book Thief (Original Score), and Before Midnight (Adapated Screenplay), minus the rental option.
August: Osage County is nowhere. It exists solely in the mind of Harvey Weinstein. Similarly, you’ll have to wait for Ernest & Celestine, The Wind Rises (or you could see it in theaters, you heathen), Inside Llewyn Davis (see it and come cry with me about Oscar Isaac not being nominated), The Invisible Woman, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Aka the “These are Oscar-nominated films and Short Term 12 isn’t?” movies. If you must see The Croods (Best Feature Animation), or if your kids must, it’s on Netflix streaming, Amazon, and iTunes (purchase or buy). Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Best Makeup & Hairstyling) is on Amazon and iTunes, purchase or rental, in regular or extended cut. So many options if you want to see Bad Grandpa! The Oscar-nominated—oh God, it hurts, it hurts—The Lone Ranger (keep it together, Rebecca, you can make it through this sentence), nominated in Best *vomit* Makeup & Hairstyling, is on iTunes and Amazon, rent or buy. And visual Effects nominee Star Trek Into Darkness—everything’s losing to Gravity anyway but it should have been Pacific Rim—is purchasable, not rentable, on Amazon and iTunes.
Lone Survivor (Sound Editing, Sound Mixing) isn’t anywhere yet, but I’m guessing you don’t care.
Here ya go, you cheapos. The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, and Dirty Wars are all on iTunes, Amazon Instant (rent or buy), and, most importantly, Netflix The Great and Powerful. The Square, about the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, is on Netflix. As for backup singer doc 20 Feet From Stardom, you can buy or rent (for only 99 cents!) on Amazon and iTunes.
Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster was nominated for Best Cinematography and Costume Design, not for Best Foreign Film, but it damn well should have been in all three categories, and it’s foreign, so I’m putting it here. You can rent or buy on Amazon or iTunes, though it is the version The Weinstein Company cut to pieces. Please God, let a more full version come out soon. The Hunt is on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, and you might want to watch it because I heard there are some Hannibal/Mads Mikkelsen fans around these parts? The Criterion Collection snatched up The Great Beauty and put it on Amazon and iTunes. Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown you can rent or buy on iTunes or Amazon; on the latter, it’s free for Prime Members, so I really need to sign into my par—I mean my account and watch that. Nothing yet for The Missing Picture or Omar.
By which I mean the shorts. God, keep up. All five of the live-action narrative shorts are on iTunes; just do a search for “Shorts International.” There’s The Black Comedy With Martin Freeman (The Voorman Problem), The Depressing Danish One About Dead Kids (Helium), The Thriller About It’s Better Not to Know Going In But It’s Really Good So Watch It (Avant Que De Tout Perdre [Just Before Losing Everything]), The One About Child Soldiers (Aquel No Era Yo [That Wasn’t Me]), and the odd one out: The Cute Finnish Short About Family Bonding (Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? [Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?]). America’s live-action shorts all sucked this year, apparently.
For animated shorts, Feral (pictured), the best of the bunch in my opinion, is on iTunes, or you can buy it for .99 cheaper on the director’s website. Room on the Broom, the half-hour children’s book adaptation in the same series as previous nominee The Gruffalo, is on iTunes, and I’d give a considered opinion but I fell asleep halfway through. I love kid’s movies, generally speaking, but this… no. It’s cutesy and stupid with none of the intelligence that makes other, better children’s offerings palatable to adults. But hey, we adults aren’t the target audience, and your kids might like it. Fans of steampunkiness and Japanese mythology will have to wait around a bit for Mr Hublot and Possessions, respectively. Hopefully they pop up soon, as they’re both wonderfully visually inventive. For Disney’s Get a Horse! you’ll have to hold your horses (sorry not sorry) until Frozen comes out on DVD/Blu-ray next month.
And finally, wrapping up this list o’ mine, documentary shorts. CaveDigger, about an artist who builds… caves, is on iTunes and Amazon for a mere two bucks, 99 cents. Karama Has No Walls is on iTunes. Those who want to watch Facing Fear will have to face the fact that, as of yet, there is no way to watch it online. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, about “the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor,” Alice Herz Sommer, is available for rent or purchase on its official website, but only if you’re in North America. And Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Jack Private Hall is premiering on HBO (and thus, I would imagine, HBO GO) on March 31st, which doesn’t help you much Oscar-wise, but hey, documentaries! Being informed! Movies!
You have just over a weekend left. Gogogo!
Rebecca always tells herself she won’t get sucked into awards season, and then it always happens anyway.
Photo credit Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.