With the announcements of the nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards this morning, now begins the frantic rush for movie-lovers to see all the nominated films they haven't checked off their list already. Before you run to the theaters in hopes of a better Oscar pool score, check out this list of 14 nominees that are now available online.
Typically, studios open their Academy Award hopefuls in the winter and fall. It helps keep their movie fresh in the minds of Academy members, plus that Oscar nod can be a healthy bump in ticket sales. But there's still a plenty of fascinating nominated features that have come and gone from theaters, and can now be viewed from the comfort of your own home.
Denmark's contender for Best Foreign Language Film stars Mads Mikkelsen as Lucas, a teacher looking to rebuild his life after a nasty divorce. As he struggles to reconnect with his estranged son and find love with a new girlfriend, Lucas's life is derailed when an innocent lie turns his community against him. Thomas Vinterberg directs this chilling drama that will face-off against Italy's The Great Beauty, Belgium's Broken Circle Breakdown, Cambodia's The Missing Picture, and Palestine's Omar on Oscar night.
Cutie and the Boxer
Nominated for Best Documentary, this film made its world debut at Sundance a year ago, and has steadily drawn praise and festival credits since then. It centers on the 40-year marriage of Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. Years ago she gave up her career to support her husband in his, painting with boxing techniques. But the scales have shifted as his reputation fades, and her autobiographical comic strips begin to drawn notice.
20 Feet from Stardom
Focusing on a different art form altogether is the charming and insightful documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which brings backup singers out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Documentarian Morgan Neville not only reveals the importance of back-up singers to the history music, but also follows the journeys of noteworthy performers past and present to give an in-depth look at these people who spend their lives so close to, and yet so far away from fame.
The Act of Killing
Also nominated for Best Documentary, The Act of Killing revisits the genocide and atrocities of the Indonesian government that had death squads slaughter more than a million suspected Communists. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer forces the men who made these decisions to face them by challenging them to create re-enactments of these scenes, however they see fit. This unconventional doc boasts a long list of festival creds as well as spots on numerous critics' Top 10s lists.
The last of the doc nominees that is available online looks at a war far closer to home. Directed by Rick Rowley, Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill on his search into America's covert operations in the war on terror. In his research and interviews, Scahill made a series of disturbing discovers, uncovering the hidden truth of drone strikes, night raids, kill lists that include U.S. citizens, and government-condoned torture that is purposefully be kept from the American public.
DreamWorks Animation made this charming caveman comedy that is contending in the Best Animated Feature Film category along with Despicable Me 2, The Wind Rises, Frozen and Ernest and Celestine. The Croods is named for the Neanderthal family it follows, cave dwellers who live in fear until massive earthquakes force them out of their comfort zone and into an extraordinary new world of colorful creatures, daunting dangers and unexpected friends. Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Cloris Leachman lend their voices.
Despicable Me 2
The goofy ex-supervillain Gru is back with his adopted daughters and minions in tow. In this new adventure, Gru (Steve Carell) is recruited by the Anti-Villain league to find a dangerous new super criminal, but along the way this lovable inventor also finds love. The sequel to Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me was a massive hit this year. Not only did it make an astounding $932 million worldwide, but also it earned the #3 spot for highest-grossing domestic release, coming in behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Iron Man 3. But will popularity be enough to beat out its cartoon contenders? If not, it has a second shot at Oscar gold as it's original song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams is also nominated.
Kar Wai Wong's Chinese drama is not one of the Best Foreign Film nominees. Instead it is competing for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design, thanks to director of photography Philippe Le Sourd and costume designer William Chang Suk Ping. Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Ziyi Zhang, and Jin Zhang, this visually stunning drama unfolds the true story of legendary martial arts master Ip Man, who lived in the turbulent decades of China's mid-20th century history, and ultimately became the mentor to martial arts movie icon Bruce Lee.
Now available on Amazon.
From Canadian director Denis Villeneuve comes a revenge crime thriller that electrified critics and now competes for Best Cinematography thanks to the one and only Roger Deakins. (This makes for Deakins' eleventh nomination. Shockingly, he has yet to win.) Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman as a man whose pushed to vigilantism when he feels the officer (Jack Gyllenhaal) assigned to his daughter's disappearance isn't up to snuff. Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo co-star.
The Great Gatsby
Ostentatious Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrmann took F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about wealth, jealousy and murder, and drenched it in glitz and glitter. It's little wonder then that this flashy flick earned Oscar nominations in Production Design and Costume Design for the work of Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn. Leonardo DiCaprio, who is nominated for his performance in Wolf of Wall Street, stars as Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire who shakes up the high society of Long Island one fateful summer of the Jazz Age.
The Lone Ranger
Yup, one of the Razzie's nominees for Worst Picture is also an Oscar nominee. But don't get too flustered, it's just for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Armie Hammer stars as the titular cowboy who takes the law into his own hands when corrupt forces murder his sheriff brother. Of course Johnny Depp stars as Tonto.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Despite a warm reception from critics and $467 million worldwide, Star Trek Into Darkness has proved a sci-fi entry that has polarized fans with its heavy borrowing from a certain past Star Wars adventure. But the Academy doesn't really care about all that, especially when it's only nominated for Best Visual Effects. This sequel to J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot Star Trek follows Kirk and the Enterprise crew on a perilous manhunt for a terrorist whose gunning to rip Starfleet to ribbons. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch star.
Iron Man 3
Competing against The Lone Ranger, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Star Trek Into Darkness and Gravity is the third blockbuster installment of the Iron Man movies. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his iconic turn as Tony Stark, the genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist who has become a self-made superhero thanks to his Iron Man suit. This time Stark takes on the infamous terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), who is laying a path of worldwide destruction and mayhem.
Now available on Amazon.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Lastly we have an Oscar nominee that is unexpected and yet well-deserved. Sure, Bad Grandpa is a raunchy as hell and pretty corny comedy, but it's also one that has 42-year-old Johnny Knoxville caked in prosthetic old man makeup so convincing that it fooled a wide array of caught-on-tape bystanders and pranked passersby. In this Jeff Tremaine-directed caper, Knoxville stars as 86-year-old Irving Zisman, a dirty oldman and bad grandpa who goes on a wild road trip with his chubby grandson (Jackson Nicoll).
Now available on iTunes.
For more recommended movies that are available online, check out our Now Streaming archive.
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Staff writer at CinemaBlend.