What Movies to See before the Oscars

The Oscars are in a few weeks—Sunday, February 9—which means there’s still time to catch some of the nominated films. As film buffs, we like to see as many of the nominated films as possible and cast our votes before watching what and who end up winning.

While a few of the nominated films are still in theaters, many are available for streaming, so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your couch. All you need is a subscription to your favorite streaming platform and a high-speed internet connection to stream in high definition. (Don’t forget a bowl of popcorn for those late-night streaming marathons!) If you don’t have time to see all the nominated films, these are the top five we recommend streaming before the Oscars.


Yes, he’s Batman’s nemesis, but this isn’t your standard villain flick. Joker is a dark and gritty take on how society’s cruel rejection of Arthur Fleck, a mentally troubled comedian, leads him to his alter ego, the Joker. Upon its release in theaters, the film made headlines for its violence and dark subject matter, but there’s no denying its creative genius.

Considered by many as the most controversial film of 2019, Joker is a must-see for several reasons. The film leads the Oscars race with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Cinematography. Joaquin Phoenix gives a stellar performance as the DC Comics villain and is considered a shoo-in for the Best Actor award. Due to its nominations, select theaters have re-released the film, but you can also watch it on Amazon Prime.

Marriage Story

If you’re familiar with Noah Baumbach’s films, like The Squid and the Whale, you know you’re in for an emotional drama involving family conflict. Marriage Story centers on successful theater director Charlie Barber (played by Adam Driver) and his wife, actress Nicole Barber (played by Scarlett Johansson), as they struggle through a coast-to-coast divorce that’s as painful for them to experience as it is the audience to watch.

Critics applauded the film for its realism and relatability, and along with Best Original Screenplay, Director, Original Score, and Picture nominations, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver received lead acting nods. Laura Dern is anticipated to win for supporting actress for her role as Nicole Barber’s cutthroat divorce attorney. You’ll want tissues handy when watching this tearjerker, which you can stream on Netflix.

The Irishman

Don’t be intimidated by the three-and-half-hour runtime: most agree that The Irishman is well worth the watch. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film stars half a dozen A-list actors, including Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci. The story follows De Niro’s character, Frank Sheeran, who goes from truck driver to mobster hitman, working with Russell Bufalino (played by Pesci) and his crime family before moving up the ladder to pair with Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (played by Pacino).

The Irishman received 10 Oscar nominations in all the major categories, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, and Cinematography. Critics agree it’s an impressive gangster drama that keeps you guessing. Catch The Irishman on Netflix and plan for multiple snack breaks and stretching intermissions.


Along with Midsommar, Parasite shocked viewers with its eerie and strange horror. The South Korean film, subtitled in English, defies categories as it’s a black comedy meets thriller meets modern fairytale. The story focuses on the Park and Kim families. The Park family is wealthy, while the Kim family is not. When the Kim children become tutors to the Parks, the two families fall into a symbiotic relationship until an interloper threatens to destroy the relationship and the families break into a battle of the classes.

Parasite has received incredible praise for its timely social themes and genre-defying suspense. Nominated for six Oscars, it’s the first time a Korean film has ever been nominated for Best Picture, and Bong Joon-ho is the first Korean filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director. You can see Parasite on Amazon Prime.

Missing Link

One of the big shocks of the Oscar nominations was the lack of Disney films in the animated feature category. Typically dominated by Disney, this year’s nominations included more diversity. Although Missing Link had a smaller theatrical release and bombed at the box office, it’s received positive reviews and praise from critics. Earlier this year, it became the first non-computer-animated film to win the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

Featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson, and Zach Galifianakis, Missing Link follows a Sasquatch, Mr. Link, and English explorer Sir Lionel Frost as they travel together to the Himalayas to meet Mr. Link’s Yeti cousins. Combining humor and heart, you won’t be able to resist Mr. Link’s charm. Enjoy Missing Link with the whole family on Hulu.

Still More Films

While these five are our top picks, we recommend also checking out a few other nominated films, including Little Women and 1917, which you can still catch in theaters, and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, which is available on Amazon Prime. And don’t forget to tune in to the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 9.