Oscars 2020: How to watch the Best Picture nominees

By Kyler Guebert, Staff Writer

One of the biggest complaints against the Oscars is that they nominate and celebrate films mainstream moviegoers haven’t seen. This year seems to be somewhat of an exception. 

A majority of this year’s nominees received wide releases and cleaned up well at both the domestic and worldwide box office. 

“Joker” made $1.07 billion worldwide and became the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. “Little Women,” “1917,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Parasite” all grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and many of the films are getting put into more theatres post-nominations. 

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“Marriage Story” and “The Irishman” have been available to stream on Netflix, and both have brought a lot of chatter with them, specifically their performances. 

So, if you haven’t been able to see this year’s nominees yet, here are some ways to see them before the ceremony. 

1917 (In Theatres) 

Sam Mendes’ one-shot war epic about two soldiers attempting to stop a British attack that will lead thousands of their fellow soldiers into a German trap has been an awards frontrunner since its premiere in December. 

It’s performing exceptionally well at the box office after winning the Best Director and Best Drama prizes at the Golden Globes and continued on to get 10 nominations. 

It seems to be the favorite to win Best Picture this year after winning the top prize at the Producers Guild Award, and will definitely be a huge competitor in this year’s race for the top prize.

Ford v Ferrari (Available Digitally, DVD Feb. 11)

This Christian Bale/Matt Damon film follows a race car driver and an automotive designer’s quest to design a Ford motor that can outpace Ferrari’s to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. 

It’s a tightly editing and crowd pleasing film that highlights Bale in another great performance. The sound design on the film is incredible, and those categories will likely be the film’s best shot at a win on Oscar Sunday.

The Irishman (Streaming Exclusively on Netflix)

Directed by Martin Scorcese, this film follows Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran and his experiences working in organized crime over the span of 50 years, specifically related to Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). 

The film is expertly made, acted and edited, and its 10 nominations show the Academy loves the film. 

Steam has definitely been lost in its race to win the top prize, with many crediting its three and a half hour runtime as a major deterrent for Academy voters, but love for Scorcese and this film could still put it on top.

Jojo Rabbit (In Theatres, Digital Feb. 4, DVD Feb. 18) 

A satire set at the end of WWII Nazi Germany, Jojo Rabbit follows Jojo, a Nazi Youth who discovers that his mother is keeping a Jewish girl in their attic. 

The film is surprisingly hilarious, and writer/director Taika Waititi balances the comedy of the film with the tragedy of the times expertly. The cast is sensational, especially lead Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie. 

The film has proved to be a crowd pleaser this year, and could pull off an interesting upset for Best Picture.

Joker (Available Digitally & DVD)

Todd Phillips’ take on the legendary Batman villain, played expertly by Joaquin Phoenix, has sparked nonstop conversation about the film, both from people who love the film and those that massively dislike it. 

It’s proven to be the most controversial of the Best Picture nominees, but the love from the Academy for this film is clearly strong, considering its 11 nominations (the most of any film this year). 

It’s clear that support for the film is there, but considering its lack of wins from other awards guilds (save for Phoenix and the masterful score by Hildur Guðnadóttir), a Best Picture win is probably unlikely, although enough support could push it to a surprise win.

Little Women (In Theatres)

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, this new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel breathes new life into a story that has been told at least eighteen separate times between television and film. 

Her screenplay is gorgeous and balances the lives of the March sisters perfectly and, paired with her direction, gives the classic characters and story a new depth and beauty. 

Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are standouts in the amazing cast, and Pugh is turning into a surprise underdog in the Supporting Actress category. 

A Best Picture win for Little Women seems unlikely, but Gerwig’s projected win for her screenplay should keep the film from going home empty handed. 

Marriage Story (Streaming Exclusively on Netflix)

Noah Baumbach’s story of the end of a marriage has received acclaim and love since its premiere, and that love for the film translated over to the academy to the tune of 6 nominations. 

Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern all earned nominations for their work, with Dern the projected winner for Supporting Actress this year. 

Driver and Johannsen could still pull off upsets in their categories, and Baumbach is one of three writers competing for a win in Original Screenplay. However, it doesn’t seem like the film has enough support to take home the top prize. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Available Digitally & DVD)

The ninth film by director Quentin Tarantino brings 1960s Hollywood back to life in a story following actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they navigate the changing industry of Hollywood with the quiet, looming threat of Sharon Tate’s (Margot Robbie) murder looming in the background. 

Tarantino’s film received 10 nominations this year, with Pitt expected to take home his first acting Oscar for his work.  A few technical categories could swing the film’s way, and Tarantino is a looming threat in the Original Screenplay category. 

The Academy loves films about Hollywood, and Tarantino’s love letter to one of the golden eras of Hollywood has the love and momentum to earn Tarantino his first Best Picture win.

Parasite (In Theatres, Digital, & DVD)

Master director Bong Joon-Ho’s film about a poor family who slowly infiltrate the lives of an incredibly wealthy family has received massive amounts of praise since its premiere at Cannes and its unanimous Palm d’Or win, and has continued to ride that love all the way to the Oscars, where it became the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture and received a total of 6 nominations. 

The film is a lock for Best International Feature Film this year, and is expected to be a fierce competitor in the Editing, Director and Screenplay races. 

Parasite is almost universally loved and respected, and, especially considering it’s huge wins at the Screen Actors Guild Award and ACE Editing Awards, it could very well become the first International film to win Best Picture in the Academy’s 92 year history.

Staff Writer Kyler Guebert can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kguebert88.

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