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There was nothing normal about 2021 in the movie world, with months of releases once again delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the nominations for the 2022 Oscars, announced Tuesday morning, reflected a year of strong, diverse releases that could hold their own against any other year in cinema history.
“The Power of the Dog” was the most-nominated film, scoring 12 nominations, while other top contenders include Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” (10 nominations), Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” (seven nominations), and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (seven nominations).
One thing that the pandemic has definitively changed is how these movies have been released. Top nominees like “Dune” and “King Richard” released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, and titles like “The Power of the Dog” debuted directly on Netflix.
To help you catch up on the best movies of the year before the Oscars ceremony on March 27, here’s how to catch all of the 2022 Oscars Best Picture nominees, whether in theaters or streaming at home.
Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white feel-good dramedy is a deeply personal one, with the director setting his semi-autobiographical movie in the 1960s Northern Ireland capital he grew up in. We see the difficulty of growing up in an era known as “The Troubles” through the eyes of nine-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill), an unassuming boy thrust into a world of religious hate and neighborhood brinksmanship.
How to watch: “Belfast” is currently showing in theaters, but is also available to rent and stream on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and various other on-demand platforms.
A Sundance smash subject to a fierce bidding war earlier this year, “CODA” stars Emilia Jones (“Locke and Key”) as a 17-year-old CODA (child of deaf adults) living in Gloucester. When her choir director suggests she pursue music school for college, she must decide between pursuing her dreams and helping her deaf parents and brother run the family fishing business. Filmed in Massachusetts in 2019, “CODA” has been the little indie underdog of the awards season thus far. Along with its three Oscar nominations, it now has a PGA nod, a WGA nod for Adapted Screenplay (Sian Heder), and SAG nominations for Outstanding Cast and Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur).
How to watch: “CODA” is streaming on Apple TV+.
With more than 600 people involved in the big-budget production of “Don’t Look Up” in Boston, the running joke is that as long as the entire cast and crew votes for it, “Don’t Look Up” could land a Best Picture nomination. Jokes aside, it’s rare for a comedy to get a Best Picture nod, which speaks to the power of McKay and David Sirota’s doomsday satire and the performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jonah Hill, among others.
How to watch: “Don’t Look Up” is streaming on Netflix.
Along with the equally excellent “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy,” Japanese director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi was responsible for two Oscar-worthy films this year. But he’ll definitely be happy with a nomination for “Drive My Car,” a brooding, atmospheric drama about a stage actor (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who is still processing the death of his wife as he prepares to begin work on his next project. Accompanied by his moody young chauffeur (Toko Miura), “Drive My Car” is a deeply affecting portrait of love and loss.
How to watch: “Drive My Car” is streaming on HBO Max.
Apologies to Marvel fans hoping that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” might swing into the Best Picture conversation: The only big-budget action movie getting any Oscars attention is “Dune,” the gorgeous, sprawling, hypnotic dreamscape from Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”). Based on Frank Herbert’s foundational sci-fi series, “Dune” introduces viewers to the futuristic desert world of Arrakis, where the Atreides family — Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac), Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and son Paul (Timothee Chalamet) — face stiff resistance from all sides as they assume rulership of the planet and its rich supply of “spice.” Villeneuve has made a blockbuster that truly feels epic in scale and ambition, and owes a debt of gratitude to the likes of “Lawrence of Arabia” as much as space-based sagas like “Star Wars: A New Hope” (which was itself inspired in part by Herbert’s novel).
How to watch: “Dune” is available to rent and stream on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and various other on-demand platforms.
The Williams sisters get the biopic treatment — or more specifically, their dad does, with Will Smith playing Richard Williams, the father and coach of tennis legends Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton). Smith also scored a Best Actor nomination for his performance, and will be hoping that he will finally take home his first Oscar this year.
How to watch: “King Richard” is available to rent and stream on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and various other on-demand platforms.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson first gained wide attention with 1997’s “Boogie Nights,” a sprawling portrait of the rise and fall of a young porn star (Mark Wahlberg) in 1970s Los Angeles. His newest, “Licorice Pizza,” returns to the same time and place, but instead focuses on a striving child actor (Cooper Seymour Hoffman) and a directionless 20-something (Alana Haim) who form a bond that defies labels and expectations.
How to watch: “Licorice Pizza” is currently playing in theaters, and is also available to rent and stream on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and various other on-demand platforms.
Guillermo del Toro’s ode to old Hollywood was just the ticket for Academy voters, as his remake of the 1947 noir scored four nominations, including a Best Picture nod that wasn’t forecasted by many Academy Awards experts. The engrossing thriller stars Bradley Cooper as an opportunistic carnival worker who hopes to con a wealthy New York scion with the help of characters played by Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Rooney Mara, and Cate Blanchett.
Jane Campion’s Western drama was the most obvious pick of the Best Picture crop, having been named the best movie of the year on an overwhelming number of critics’ top 10 lists. Set in 1925 Montana, the film centers on two ranch-owning brothers, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch, “Dr. Strange”) and George (Jesse Plemons, “The Irishman”). When George marries innkeeper Rose (Kirsten Dunst, “Bring It On”), Phil makes life difficult for her and her son, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Road”). Campion’s film is dark, foreboding, depressing, and utterly unmissable.
How to watch: “The Power of the Dog” is streaming on Netflix.
It’s the movie that launched a million thinkpieces: What does it say about the future of cinema, writers wondered, if a critically acclaimed remake of a beloved musical directed by one of the most popular filmmakers of all time (Steven Spielberg) is a box office flop? Hopefully, executives at 20th Century Studios chalk up the struggles of “West Side Story” to the pandemic, and will be heartened by the film’s seven nominations. Audiences should find a way to watch it over the next six weeks because it’s a film well worth your time.
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