How to catch up on Oscar flicks online — sort of
NEW YORK — The good news for those trying to catch up on Oscar-nominated flicks: A little more than half are available for streaming online.
The bad news: Nearly half aren’t.
The somewhat-less-bad, but still-not-good news: Apart from documentaries, few of the nominees are available through all-you-can-watch subscriptions such as Netflix and HBO Now. That means you’ll have to pay a fair bit to rent or buy individual movies — typically $4 or $5 to rent and $10 to $15 to buy (even more for high-definition quality). True, there are also cheaper and less legal ways to watch, but we aren’t going there.
Five of the eight best-picture nominees are available online. Add the acting categories, and you can watch nine of the 15 nominees. In all, you can watch 30 of the 57 nominated full-length movies and shorts. An additional two, including best-picture nominee “Brooklyn,” are due out before the Feb. 28 awards show.
Here’s your viewing guide:
Best picture and directing: “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the only best-picture nominee available through a subscription service, HBO Now. If you have a cable subscription with HBO, you can catch it on HBO Go. You can buy, but not rent, “Mad Max” through iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.
“Spotlight” and “Room” are available only as a purchase for now, though iTunes says you can start renting either next Tuesday. “Bridges of Spies” and “The Martian” are available to buy or rent. “Brooklyn” is coming Tuesday, though a rental option might not be available right away.
For “The Big Short” and “The Revenant,” you still need to head to the theater. Although major services are taking advance orders, none say when it will be available. Don’t be duped if you see “The Revenant” on Amazon — it’s an unrelated 2009 movie with the same name.
All five nominees for best directing overlap with best picture, so if you manage all eight, you’re good to go. Once again, you’ll need to visit a theater for “The Big Short” and “The Revenant.”
Acting categories: Except for “Mad Max,” the best-picture nominees have contenders for one or more acting categories as well.
None of the eight remaining movies with acting nominees are available through a subscription service.
“Creed” and “The Danish Girl” are available for purchase; iTunes says “The Danish Girl” can also be rented starting Tuesday. “Trumbo” is available to buy or rent — get the 2015 drama starring Bryan Cranston, not the 2007 documentary. “Steve Jobs” is also available to buy or rent through several leading services, including iTunes — the service the real Jobs founded as Apple’s CEO.
“Carol” will be released online on March 4 — too late for your Oscar pools. You can advance-order “Joy” and “The Hateful Eight,” but there’s no firm release date listed. You’ll also need to find “45 Years” in theaters.
Screenplay nominees: “Ex Machina” is available with an Amazon Prime subscription and for rent or purchase through most leading services.
“Room” and “Spotlight” require a purchase, at least until next week, while “Bridges of Spies,” ‘’Inside Out,” ‘’Straight Outta Compton” and “The Martian” can be rented or bought (to rent “Inside Out,” go to Amazon).
“Brooklyn” is coming next Tuesday. That means theatrical visits for “Carol” and “The Big Short.”
Full-length documentaries: All five nominees are available online.
“Amy” is available to Amazon Prime subscribers, while “Cartel Land,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” are available on Netflix. “Amy” and “Cartel Land” are also available for rent or purchase. The other two were produced by Netflix, so you won’t find them elsewhere.
“The Look of Silence” is available to rent or buy through leading services.
Full-length cartoons: “Inside Out” and “Shaun The Sheep Movie” are the only ones available to rent or buy.
“Anomalisa” isn’t expected online until March 15. “Anomalisa” and “Boy and the World” are still playing in theaters — at least in a few major U.S. cities. “When Marnie Was There” is no longer in theaters, though you can buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc. (A side note: Most movies released online are also available on disc, but that’s so old-school).
The 15 shorts: Netflix — and only Netflix — has “World of Tomorrow,” nominated for animated short, and “Chau, Beyond The Lines” and “Last Day of Freedom,” both nominated for documentary short. “Ave Maria,” nominated for live action short, is available for purchase on iTunes. The rest aren’t available online yet.
The cable channel Shorts HD sometimes sells bundles of Oscar-nominated shorts online, but there’s no word yet on its plans this year. The shorts nominees are much easier to catch in theaters these days, but doing so requires getting off the couch.
Foreign language: “Theeb” is expected online Friday, at least for buying. Advance orders are being taken for the remaining four nominees, but there are no firm dates yet. All four have limited theatrical releases, which means you might have to get to New York or Los Angeles if you’re not already there.
The rest: There are nine movies nominated only for other, lower-profile categories such as music and makeup.
Eight of them are available for purchase, and some are also available as rentals. In addition, “Fifty Shades of Grey” can be streamed with an HBO Now subscription, while “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” comes with Amazon Prime. “Cinderella” is available through Starz as a $9-a-month supplement to an Amazon Prime membership.
That leaves just one more: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Advance orders are being taken for a digital copy, but there’s no release date yet. Nominated for various technical categories and best original score, the continuation of George Lucas’ space saga is still playing in theaters — widely.