If you’re looking for where to stream the Oscar-nominated movies — both the ones you can watch with kids and the ones you can watch alone after they’re bed — I get it. Parent usually struggle to catch up on all our movies this time of year. Or hey, maybe you’ve been living under a Covid rock like I have.
The good news is that there are so many terrific Oscar nominees to stream this year, some of which were released on streaming networks to begin with.
So whip up a bowl of one of our favorite creative popcorn recipes, pour some 64-ounce sodas half full of ice (just kidding there), sit back and relax, enjoy the show. At home. – Caroline, with Liz
Top images: © Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., 20th Century Studios, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios
Where to Stream the 2022 Oscar Nominees This Year:
A Family Guide
I’ve put together this list (along with a little help from Liz who has managed to see so many nominated films this year!) to help you find where to stream the 2022 Oscar nominees, and which ones are best for your kids by age.
Look who might have a shot at the Oscar predication pool this year: This mom!
Where to Stream the 2022 Best Picture Nominees
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Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu
Sci-fi loving teens and tweens will be drawn to the remake of 1984’s Dune, not just because of the epic, futuristic interplanetary story, but because of the casting of Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. In terms of violence, I’d put this in a similar category as the new Star Wars films. Any kids who can handle that series should be fine with this one, even if a lot of the dialogue and finer plot points will fly over their heads.
CW: if you have a younger kid who gets the climate change scaries, just note that this one takes place in a desert where water is extremely scarce. Though it’s more likely that fans will be disappointed in how little screen time Zendaya has; don’t worry she’ll be back in the sequel. If you missed the magic of the big screen, crank up the sound system and stream this highly nominated (10!) film on Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube.
Disney + and HBO Max starting March 2
While it’s not available to stream for another week or so, Steven Spielberg’s extraordinary remake of West Side Story will launch on Disney+ and HBO Max on March 2. That gives you plenty of viewing time before the Oscars, if you haven’t caught it in theaters.
Liz hasn’t stopped raving about this “perfect remake,” in which Tony Kusher’s screenplay updates the story in all the right ways — like explaining the gentrification of New York that created the Hell’s Kitchen Turf wars, seamless inclusion of a non-binary character, and actually casting Latinx actors in the Latinx parts.
The singing, the dancing, the staging are all wonderful, but for younger kids, of course there’s some violence (of the street fight variety) some salty language, and of course…that iconic West Side Story ending.
If you have an older kid who’s into musical theater, definitely check out tick, tick…Boom!, the Lin-Manuel Miranda-directed musical streaming now on Netflix. It stars Andrew Garfield in the origin story of Jonathan Larson, the creator of the iconic musical Rent. Kids need to be mature enough for some profanity and an honest discussion of the AIDS epidemic, which is worth all the good lessons they’ll learn about creativity and perseverance.
Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu, YouTube
If you haven’t yet seen it, King Richard is a reference to Richard Williams, father to tennis goddesses Venus and Serena. This movie stars Will Smith, as the force behind the sisters’ rise to sports supremacy, and with Serena and Venus executive producing the film, it not only has their stamp of approval, but you’ll find it dispels so many of the negative stories you might have heard about their father. It’s packed with extraordinary performances, and is a terrific watch for kids about the power of perseverance in the face of a whole lot of odds.
While King Richard was originally streaming on HBO Max for the first month of its launch, you’ll have to buy it to watch now. Also, you may have to buy a new tennis racket and a fresh new can of Wilson US Open tennis balls because wow, this makes you want to get out on the court. (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Apple TV, or YouTube)
Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu
Sir Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical film delves into The Troubles in Northern Ireland through a coming-of-age lens. Buddy, the young protagonist played by Jude Hill, brings heart and humor to the film as a boy who grapples with first love, aging grandparents, and trying to understand the wars of adults, all while tensions in his neighborhood quickly escalate.
Belfast is a war movie that’s not quite a “war movie” — it’s less about combat than relationships. It’s entirely shot in black-and-white, and with 7 Oscar nominations, it’s a great watch for an important time in recent history delivered with unexpected charm. Liz recommends it as great viewing for tweens and up and you can catch it on a number of streaming networks. (Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Apple TV)
Sian Heder directed the coming-of-age drama-comedy CODA, which is the acronym for Child Of Deaf Adults. It’s also the designation of lead character Ruby, who struggles between pursuing a career as a singer, or stay at home to help with her parents’ fishing business. I love that her parents are portrayed by deaf actors Marlee Matlin (herself an Oscar-winner) and Troy Kostur, who’s up for Best Supporting Actor this year. In fact, the entire ensemble was up for a Golden Globe.
We always recommend stories that help build empathy for those who may be differently abled, and CODA is among them. However it’s probably best for middle-schoolers and up, due to sexual content and a lot of strong language. As its an Apple TV Original, that’s where you’ll find this Oscar nominee streaming right now.
Not currently streaming
I can’t wait to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s quirky, funny, cameo-packed coming-of-age romance that delves deep into the pinball-loving, water bed-adoring, oddball culture of SoCal in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, it isn’t streaming yet though, ugh! It’s appropriately rated R for language, sex, and drug use — and note that some viewers are leery about the 10-year age gap between the leads, who are beautifully played by Alana Haim, and Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Phillip-Seymour Hoffman).
Liz loved it, and so did her 14-year-old, but a lot of the pop culture references (like Bradley Cooper as Jon Peters who was made famous by Warren Beatty) needed some explaining after the film. When Licorice Pizza does start streaming, I think it would be a fun (if a little awkward) movie for a lot of parents to watch with their teens too.
Part climate change parable and part satire on the age of misinformation, Netflix original Don’t Look Up is still the talk of social media. Adam McCay’s all-star cast is helmed by Leonardo DiCaprio as a scientist and his grad student, Jennifer Lawrence, who try to warn the world about an asteroid on track to destroy the planet…while the news media, the government, and corporate America do everything wrong when faced with this information.
It’s a polarizing film with critics and audiences — lots of love and lots of hate. And if you have teens, they’ll have strong opinions themselves; just be prepared for some existential dread about climate change. In fact, it’s best suited for teens and mature tweens due to lots of strong language, scary themes (i.e. the destruction of earth), and sexual references.
HBO Max, Starting March 2
This year, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car became the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture, which is kind of hard to believe. But what a film it is — a gorgeously told story about grief, love, and the healing power of art. The story focuses on the mourning period of a theater director named Yusuke who finds solace in a platonic friendship with a young female chauffeur assigned to drive him around for his latest gig. That’s a rather pat summary, but it’s best not to know too much before going in; just see it.
The film isn’t rated, but the strong themes of grief, the explicit sexual scenes, and the slow pacing make it best for true film-buff teens who can really sit and focus for three hours. Speaking of which, put your phones away and turn out the lights. Drive My Car deserves all your attention, and not just because of the subtitles.
Jane Campion’s incredibly captivating western is a favorite to win a whole lot of Oscars, with a whopping 12 nominations in 2022. Set in 1920s Montana, this powerful, haunting story of dueling rancher brothers, secrets, and broken souls features extraordinary performances by Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, all four of whom have been nominated. This is 100% worth streaming on Netflix, but only the most film buff teens will probably be interested.
Note that Power of the Dog has plenty of drinking, smoking, cruel violence and language, and more — but that’s all we can say without giving anything away.
HBO Max, Hulu
Guillermo de Toro has remade this 1940s film noir thriller starring Bradley Cooper as a con man carney in a relationship with his psychiatrist, played by Cate Blanchett. (As if we wouldn’t watch those two read the phone book together.) Evidently the film is extremely violent, dark and gory, and it might be much for even younger teens. But if you’re a fan of de Toro’s other masterful films, and like dark psychological thrillers, it’s getting critical raves for its exquisite staging and and an ending that make all the twists and turns worth it.
Nightmare Alley just started streaming this month on HBO Max and on Hulu; also note that de Toro simultaneously released a black-and-white version called Nightmare Alley: Vision in Darkness and Light that’s still playing in a limited theatrical run.
Where to Stream Other Oscar Nominees
That Are Great for Kids
If you have a child under the age of 10, you’ve probably already Encanto on repeat for a few months now, so I don’t need to tell you that it’s steaming on Disney+, or that it’s delightful. (Although I will tell you that you can find an authentic mochila hand bag like Mirabel’s for yourself because I tracked them down recently!). I watched Encanto with my two-year-old, and I think it’s appropriate for pretty much any age. Including the teen kids of our own team, who love it too.
(And if you haven’t noticed, Lin-Manuel is having quite the year, between Encanto, tick, tick…Boom!, and In the Heights — the latter of which you should watch despite its Oscar snub.)
Yay for another Oscar nominated movie that’s streaming, and great for all ages (says this mom of younger kids). Luca is a sea monster with the ability to appear as a human boy when on land. The only catch? The locals hate sea monsters, so when he and his BFF go to explore the Italian Riviera one summer, they have to be careful to stay in disguise.
This best Animated Feature nominee has a few parts that may be a little scary for younger children, but this Pixar film is overall incredibly fun.Just don’t eat seafood while you watch it.
In this contender for Best Animated Feature film, Raya (voiced by the wonderful Kelly Marie Tran) enlists the help of dragon Sisu to help rid the world of Druun, or dark spirits that petrify everything in their path. Raya and the Last Dragon feels more like a YA movie and less like a movie for little kids, partly because this epic adventure is not a musical.
The dragon played by Awkwafina was a big highlight for my littles, and I loved the themes about making friends with people in other tribes.
Hold the puppies! This reimagining of a young Cruella (Emma Stone, natch) on her way to fabulous wickedness is a fun romp for slightly older kids, and a nominee for makeup and hair design, as well as best costumes. It’s rated PG-13 for violence and general themes of mischief and evil, but I think some younger kids could watch it if an adult is nearby.
P.S. Parents will love that it’s narrated by the incomparable Emma Thompson.
I’ve been hearing so much buzz about Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s hybrid animated/live action documentary, in part because it’s been nominated for three biggies: Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature, and has been a near-unanimous favorite of 2021 from movie critics around the world.
Amin Nawabi, now an adult, shares his true story of escaping from Afghanistan as a young child to land in Copenhagen, where he’s now engaged to his future husband. It’s rated PG-13 for strong language, and of course, difficult themes around war and violence, but it’s an important story for tweens and teens who are up for it — and I bet it will lead to phenomenal family discussions after.
Hulu, AppleTV, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, Disney +, Vudu
Documentaries are often a great category to find something fresh to watch with your kids, and Liz has not stopped raving about Summer of Soul since its theatrical release this past summer. Neither have critics — it’s up for Best Documentary Feature, and has a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Questlove produced this powerful, moving, and uplifting doc about the weeks-long 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, using restored footage that has been sitting in a vault for 50 years. You’ll gasp at the performances and interviews of Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, and the 5th Dimension — and the incredible soundtrack of tunes your kids will know.
It was originally released in theaters and on Hulu, but now is also available to rent or purchase on AppleTV, YouTube, Amazon, Google Play, Disney+ and Vudu (some free with subscription). While there’s some smoking, drinking and weed use, that’s no reason that should hold back kids of any age from enjoying at least the musical performances.
It’s such an important film, because it’s more than a celebration of music, it’s a celebration of Black American culture, talent, pride, and unity.
While not a full-length feature, this 22-minute film nominated for best Documentary Short Subject will captivate a lot of kids. Free on Vimeo and YouTube, the full title is The Queen of Basketball: When the N.B.A. Officially Drafted a Woman. Intrigued yet? Directed by Ben Proudfoot and Executive Produced by a team including Shaquille O’Neal, it’s the true story of Lisa Harris, who grew up in rural Mississippi to become the first woman to score a basket in the Olympics in the 1970s, years before the WNBA afforded athletes like Lisa more professional opportunities on the court.
It just might require a visit to Billie Jean King’s Women Sports Foundation website when you’re done, for a good talk about how far women have come in professional sports — and how far we have left to go.