Briefing

2023 Oscars: How and when to watch all the likely contenders

Oscars season is in full swing — let the streaming begin!

The 2023 Oscar nominations will be revealed in January, so if you're interested in following this year's race, now's the time to start catching up on movies. But where can the average person watch all of these films, and which contenders should be prioritized? Here's a guide to all of this year's Oscar contenders and how you can see them, listed in descending order of significance to the race: 

The Fabelmans

  • Now in theaters 
  • Available on video on demand ($20 rental, $25 purchase)

If you have time to watch just a single 2023 Oscar contender, make it The Fabelmans, one of the current frontrunners to win Best Picture

Steven Spielberg directs this semi-autobiographical drama, which explores the formation of his love of movies and the end of his parents' marriage when he was a teenager. Spielberg is favored to win Best Director for the third time in his career, and Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Judd Hirsch are also in the mix for acting nominations

The Fabelmans is still playing in theaters, but it's also available on video on demand platforms for either a $25 purchase or a $20 rental.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

  • Streaming on Showtime 
  • Available on video on demand 

The underdog in this year's Best Picture race is Everything Everywhere All at Once, a sci-fi comedy starring Michelle Yeoh as a laundromat owner who must defeat a threat to the multiverse by tapping into skills that versions of herself from alternate universes have attained.

It's rather offbeat for an Oscar contender, but the film has emerged as a serious threat to win Best Picture, and Yeoh is set for a Best Actress nod. Ke Huy Quan is also an early favorite to win Best Supporting Actor, and Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis are in the conversation for Best Supporting Actress. Directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert should be nominated for both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, as well. 

The film, which debuted in March, is no longer playing in theaters, but it's available on video on demand services — though at this time, the only option is to buy it. Otherwise, you can watch it for no additional charge on the Showtime Anytime app if you're a Showtime subscriber. 

The Banshees of Inisherin

  • Streaming on HBO Max
  • Available on video on demand

From the director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Banshees of Inisherin revolves around two longtime friends, one of whom, played by Brendan Gleeson, abruptly cuts off the relationship with the other, played by Colin Farrell, for no apparent reason. It's set on the fictional Irish island of Inisherin in the 1920s.

Banshees is expected to earn a Best Picture nomination, and it stands a solid chance of actually winning. Farrell and Gleeson will also surely be nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, and Kerry Condon could earn a Best Supporting Actress nomination. McDonagh will likely be up for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. 

The film is still in some theaters, but in addition to being on video on demand, it's also now streaming on HBO Max.  

Top Gun: Maverick

  • Streaming on Paramount+
  • Available on video on demand 

Believe it or not, the biggest blockbuster of 2022 could also be a major player at the Oscars. Not only is Top Gun: Maverick expected to be nominated for Best Picture, but some pundits have argued a win is in play. 

Tom Cruise returns in the Top Gun sequel as Maverick, who's tasked with training a young class of pilots for a dangerous mission. On top of Best Picture, Lady Gaga looks set for a Best Original Song nomination for her track "Hold My Hand," and it's not off the table that Cruise could be nominated for Best Actor. Plus, the film will earn plenty of nominations in the below-the-line technical categories. 

Top Gun: Maverick is now available on video on demand, though if you're a Paramount+ subscriber, you can also stream it there for no additional charge. 

Avatar: The Way of Water

  • Now in theaters 

Along with Top Gun, one of the biggest films of 2022 is set to be Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster more than a decade in the making.

The first film was nominated for Best Picture and was competitive that year, so the sequel is likely to do the same given it was well received. Expect it to be a major player in the various below-the-line technical categories, and it's surely a shoo-in to win for its visual effects.  

Avatar: The Way of Water is now in theaters. You can expect to eventually be able to watch it on Disney+, though given the original Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all time due to a long run in theaters, Disney will probably take its time before dropping it on streaming. For more information, check out our breakdown of the best formats to see the movie in.  

Tár

  • Available on video on demand 

If you want to follow this year's Best Actress race, Tár will be required viewing, as Cate Blanchett is the early frontrunner to win.

She plays a famous (but fictional) conductor of classical music in the film from writer-director Todd Field, which chronicles Lydia Tár's downward spiral as damaging allegations against her come out. It's not totally clear the reach the film will have outside of Blanchett in Best Actress, but most pundits think it will be one of the Best Picture nominees, and it could also earn directing and screenplay nods. 

Tár is still playing in some theaters, but it's also on video on demand. Right now, it appears to only be available for purchase for $20, though given it was recently released on blu-ray, it should be up for rental at the typical $5.99 price before long.  

Elvis 

  • Streaming on HBO Max
  • Available on video on demand

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis was a surprise box office hit over the summer, and it could make a big splash in the Oscar race.

Primarily, the film's lead, Austin Butler, is a strong contender to win Best Actor, and it appears the movie may also be among the Best Picture nominees. It should also perform well in the below-the-line categories, picking up nominations like best editing and best costume design.

Elvis is streaming now on HBO Max, though if you're not a subscriber, you can also rent it on any video on demand service.  

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

  • Streaming on Netflix 

Netflix's release strategy for Glass Onion was even more puzzling than the mystery at the film's center. It hit theaters in time for Thanksgiving and did great business, but Netflix then pulled the movie after a week, so there was no way to see it for some time. The idea was that this theatrical release would be a sort of limited "preview" ahead of the streaming debut, and the film is now available on Netflix but not in theaters. 

The sequel to Knives Out, Glass Onion sees Daniel Craig's Detective Benoit Blanc take on a new case. In the vein of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot stories, it's an entirely new plot with all new characters, so seeing the original Knives Out isn't required. Edward Norton stars as billionaire Miles Bron, who invites his friends to his private island to play a murder mystery game, only for someone to actually end up dead. The star-studded cast includes Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline, plus tons of surprise cameos.

Knives Out was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, so expect to see Glass Onion in that category, and many pundits believe it will also earn a Best Picture nod this time. 

Babylon

  • Now in theaters

Damien Chazelle follows up La La Land and First Man with this bombastic, three-hour epic about 1920s Hollywood and the transition from silent films to talkies starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt.

The film's Oscar prospects are still a bit hazy, especially due to its explicit depiction of coke-fueled parties and more debauchery. But pundits are thinking it will get into Best Picture, and Chazelle could return to the Best Director race. Also keep an eye on Robbie and Pitt for possible nominations, as both were already nominated at the Golden Globes. 

Babylon was released in theaters on Dec. 23. While no video on demand or streaming date has been announced, it was released by Paramount, which has been known to put its films on Paramount+ about 45 days after they hit theaters. Assuming the studio follows this with Babylon, it could potentially hit Paramount+ by early February, a month before the Oscars. 

Women Talking

  • Now in theaters 

This Sarah Polley drama based on the book of the same name revolves around a group of women in a religious colony who debate what to do about a series of sexual assaults. Several members of its star-studded cast could be nominated, in addition to the film possibly being up for Best Picture. 

In particular, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley may both compete for Best Supporting Actress, and Ben Whishaw is a Best Supporting Actor possibility. Because it's based on a novel, expect to see the film in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, as well.

Women Talking hit theaters on Dec. 23, though it's so far playing only in limited release. No video on demand date has been announced, but you can likely bet on being able to watch it at home before the Oscars.

The Woman King 

  • Available on video on demand 

The Woman King is a bit on the bubble in the Oscar race, but it's not hard to imagine it picking up some nominations and potentially even sneaking into Best Picture. The historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood revolves around a group of female warriors in the African kingdom of Dahomey, starring Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, and John Boyega.

Some pundits think Davis could score a Best Actress nomination, while others believe Prince-Bythewood could be in the Best Director conversation. 

The film is now available on video on demand, both for purchase but also to rent for $5.99.

She Said

  • Available on video on demand ($20 rental, $25 purchase)

Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan star in She Said as Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, the New York Times reporters who uncovered sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein in 2017. The film is another possible Best Picture contender, and Mulligan could earn a Best Supporting Actress nod. Because She Said is based on Twohey and Kantor's book, a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination is also in play. 

She Said is now available on video on demand, but you have to rent it for $20 or buy it for $25. It's a Universal film, though, so don't be surprised if it pops up on Peacock sooner rather than later, possibly in early January after a 45-day window. 

Till

  • Available on video on demand 

Danielle Deadwyler is firmly in the Best Actress conversation for her acclaimed performance in Till, which tells the story of Emmett Till's mother, Mamie Till. Whoopi Goldberg, who produced the film, also stars. The film is still playing in some theaters, but you can also watch it on demand via a $20 purchase. It's set to be released on blu-ray on Jan. 17, though, at which point it's likely to be available for a normal rental price. 

The Whale 

  • Now in theaters

If Austin Butler loses Best Actor, it would probably be to Brendan Fraser, who's making a comeback in a big way with Darren Aronofsky's The Whale. Fraser stars in the film as a 600-pound man, who struggles to reconnect with his daughter, played by Sadie Sink. Hong Chau also stars as the nurse and best friend of Fraser's character.

The Whale appears likely to only be a major contender in Best Actor and possibly in Best Supporting Actress for Hong Chau, though it's not impossible that it could earn a Best Picture nomination. It's now in limited theaters, but a video on demand date hasn't been announced. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  • Now in theaters

The original Black Panther became a rare superhero movie nominated for Best Picture, so could its sequel follow suit? Pundits generally don't think so, though it's possible. But even if not, the film should have a presence in the below-the-line categories, including Best Original Song for Rihanna's "Lift Me Up." Angela Bassett could also become the first actor nominated for a Marvel Cinematic Universe performance, as she already received a Golden Globe nomination. 

Wakanda Forever, which grapples with the real-life death of Chadwick Boseman, is still in theaters now. A Disney+ release date hasn't been announced, but Disney's other two 2022 MCU films dropped on Disney+ after between 45 and 65 days. A recent preview of Disney+ content to be released in 2023 included Wakanda Forever, suggesting it won't be released in December, but a January debut appears likely.   

RRR

  • Streaming on Netflix

The critically-acclaimed Indian epic RRR has been hailed as one of 2022's best action films, if not the very best. Clocking in at a whopping three hours, it follows two actual Indian revolutionaries, telling a fictional story imagining what might have happened if they had become friends.

RRR mainly has Oscar buzz for its song "Naatu Naatu," which comes from an epic dance battle sequence, and it could be nominated for Best Original Song. It was already nominated at the Golden Globes. There are some pundits, though, who believe the film itself may be a surprise Best Picture nominee. RRR is streaming on Netflix.  

Decision to Leave 

  • Streaming on Mubi  
  • Available on video on demand

From celebrated South Korean director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), Decision to Leave follows a detective investigating a mysterious death, who grows suspicious of the deceased man's wife. It's South Korea's official submission for the Best International Feature Film Oscar and will likely be nominated. But given this is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, some pundits think Park Chan-wook could earn a Best Director nomination, sort of like how Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi was a surprise nominee for Drive My Car this year. 

Decision to Leave is now available to stream on Mubi, and it's also available to rent or purchase on video on demand. 

Living

  • Now in theaters

While Living is not expected to be a major Oscar contender across the board, Bill Nighy may be a Best Actor nominee after delivering what critics say is one of the best performances of his career. He plays a man who decides to "turn his dull life into something wonderful" after being diagnosed with cancer. It's based on the Akira Kurosawa film Ikiru and received a limited theatrical release in the U.S. beginning on Dec. 23.

Empire of Light 

  • Now in theaters

Empire of Light is another contender that may or may not ultimately get in, largely because it received mixed reviews from critics. But it's still possible Olivia Colman could score a Best Actress nomination for the Sam Mendes film, a love story set around an English movie theater in the 1980s. It's now in theaters. 

The Son

  • In theaters Jan. 20

This follow-up to The Father from director Florian Zeller appears to have been mostly knocked out of the Oscar race with the exception of Hugh Jackman, who may still make it into Best Actor. He plays a father whose teenage son is struggling with depression and moves in with him. The Son technically already came out in November, but only in an extremely limited release. Most people will be able to see it on Jan. 20, when Sony Pictures Classics is opening it wide. 

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio 

  • Streaming on Netflix 

Guillermo del Toro directs this new stop-motion animated take on Pinocchio, which is an early frontrunner for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The film, set in 1930s Italy, has been receiving raves from critics, so there's also a slim chance it could even sneak into the Best Picture field if Netflix runs a successful campaign. After a limited theatrical release, Pinocchio is now streaming on Netflix. 

Turning Red

  • Streaming on Disney+ 
  • Available on video on demand

Another top contender for Best Animated Feature is this acclaimed Pixar film following a young girl who turns into a giant red panda every time she becomes extremely emotional. It looks like Disney's strongest contender for the animated film Oscar this year, and the film is now streaming on Disney+.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  • Available on video on demand 

The only thing more surprising than the fact that this movie about an adorable talking shell is one of the most acclaimed films of the year is the fact that it qualified as an animated movie at the Oscars. Based on the YouTube shorts, the film features Jenny Slate voicing her beloved character of Marcel the Shell, a talking shell with shoes, who in his feature debut sets out to find his family. It's mostly live-action with stop-motion animation used for Marcel and his shell friends. But there was enough stop-motion that it qualified for the animated feature film Oscar, and it's likely to be nominated. The film is available to rent for $6 on video on demand, though it's not yet on any streaming services. 

Triangle of Sadness 

  • Available on video on demand ($6 rental, $15 purchase)

Triangle of Sadness could end up being the film that tops lists of biggest Oscar snubs this year. But there are still those who think it could be a Best Picture nominee, especially after it was nominated for Best Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. 

The film, a dark comedy following a model and an influencer who take a trip on a luxury cruise, won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, an award that has gone to some past Best Picture winners or nominees like Parasite and The Tree of Life. It's playing in theaters now and is also on video on demand. 

All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Streaming on Netflix

This new adaptation of the 1929 World War I novel is Germany's official submission for the Best International Feature Film Oscar. But since some of Netflix's other contenders this year haven't performed as well as expected, it's possible the streamer could push it into some other categories, including Best Cinematography.

The movie also performed better than expected when the shortlists for various Oscar categories were released, leading some pundits to predict it will be an unexpected nominee for Best Picture. It's streaming on Netflix now. 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

  • Now in theaters

The original Puss in Boots, a spinoff of Shrek, was nominated for Best Animated Feature in 2012, and given the sequel is earning even better reviews, it probably will be, too. The Last Wish sees Puss embark on a quest to extend his nine lives, and critics have been shockingly enthusiastic about it, with IGN going as far as to declare it the "Logan of the Shrek franchise." Nominate Puss in Boots for Best Actor, cowards! The film was released in theaters on Dec. 21. 

Strange World

  • Streaming on Disney+

Oscar voters tend to almost automatically nominate the latest film from Walt Disney Animation Studios for Best Animated Feature every year, so one would assume that will also be true of Strange World — though it's not guaranteed, considering the film received somewhat mixed reviews. Following a family of explorers who set out on an adventure, Strange World is now streaming on Disney+. 

Wendell & Wild

  • Streaming on Netflix

Another possible animated feature contender is Wendell & Wild, which marks The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick's first film since 2009's Coraline. It revolves around a duo of demon brothers, who make a deal with a teenager in an attempt to leave the underworld. It's a Netflix original, so you can stream it there now. 

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

  • Streaming on Netflix

This new film from Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the director of Birdman, follows a journalist turned documentarian who returns home to receive an award. The film received mixed reviews, so it isn't expected to be a major Oscar player, but it's still in the conversation for certain categories like Best Cinematography. It's also Mexico's official submission for Best International Feature, and it's streaming on Netflix.

Armageddon Time

  • Available on video on demand ($20 purchase)

This semi-autobiographical film is based on writer-director James Gray's (Ad Astra) experiences growing up in Queens in the 1980s, starring Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, and Anthony Hopkins. It's possible it could receive a screenplay nomination, and nods for Hopkins or Strong aren't entirely off the table. It's on video on demand, but for now, this is another one only available for a $20 purchase. 

Causeway

  • Streaming on Apple TV+

This Apple TV+ drama stars Jennifer Lawrence as a soldier who returns home from Afghanistan after suffering a traumatic brain injury. It's not inconceivable that Lawrence could sneak into Best Actress, but there's been even more talk of a possible Best Supporting Actor nod for Brian Tyree Henry. The film is streaming on Apple TV+ now. 

The Good Nurse

  • Streaming on Netflix

Based on a true story, Eddie Redmayne stars alongside Jessica Chastain in this Netflix film as real-life serial killer nurse Charles Cullen. Though it may be a long shot, there's been some talk of Redmayne, a past Oscar winner, getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the movie, which is now on Netflix. 

White Noise

  • Streaming on Netflix Dec. 30 

Writer-director Noah Baumbach's follow-up to Marriage Story stars Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig as a couple whose family must evacuate their homes following an "airborne toxic event." It's not expected to be a major Oscar player, but Baumbach could earn a screenplay nod. The film is technically in theaters now, but the release is quite limited, so if it's not near you, it will be on Netflix at the end of December. 

Aftersun

  • Available on video on demand 

One of the best-reviewed films of 2022 is this Charlotte Wells A24 film, in which a woman "reflects on the rare time spent with her loving, idealistic father and tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't."

There's a non-zero chance that Aftersun could be this year's critical favorite that picks up unexpected momentum in the Academy similar to last year's Drive My Car, and a screenplay nomination would probably be the most realistic possibility.

The film is technically still in some theaters, though it's a limited release. But it's also on video on demand for a $20 purchase. 

The Inspection 

  • Available on video on demand ($20 rental)

Jeremy Pope stars in The Inspection as a gay man who enlists in the Marine Corps, where he battles "deep-seated prejudice and the grueling rigor of basic training" but finds "unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community." Pope has some Oscar buzz in the Best Actor race, especially after earning a surprise nomination at the Golden Globes. 

The film is now in some theaters, though only in limited release. It's also on video on demand for a $20 rental. 

Hustle

  • Streaming on Netflix

Could it soon be "Oscar-nominee Adam Sandler"? The comedian was surprisingly snubbed for Uncut Gems a few years ago, but there's been some talk that he could be a long-shot contender for the basketball drama Hustle, which is now on Netflix. 

The Batman

  • Streaming on HBO Max

No, we're not about to claim that Colin Farrell will win an Oscar for his role as The Penguin, but Matt Reeves' The Batman is still in the conversation for some below-the-line Oscars, and it's now on HBO Max. Sadly for Robert Pattinson, though, there's no Oscar for Best Chin.

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