Every year, February provides us with a special opportunity to worship two very different Gods: one is a strange sort of rodent-priest, and the other is an anatomically ambiguous statuette: Oscar. Like Punxsatawny Phil, Oscar is a frivolous God, but in order to know when he has Titanicked us, we need to watch some movies. But how, when tickets are expensive and time, like Tom Cruise, is short? The answer, of course, is Netflix – and whether you want to catch up with the actual nominees or see the films that paved their way, Brokelyn’s guide has you covered.
Along with information about which movies are available on disc and which on demand, we’ve compiled a complementary set of Oscar-nominated films from previous years – all of which are available for instant viewing and thus at no cost if you (or your roommate) has a Netflix account. Enjoy!
AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX
The King’s Speech
Instead, try: Henry V (Nominated for three Academy Awards in 1989). Kenneth Branagh also had to deal with the looming presence of an iconic speech in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic, and through sheer force of ego he managed to pull it off.
Instead, try: Stagecoach (nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1940). John Ford’s classic helped solidify, if not establish, almost all of our ideas about what a Western should be, and it was also the movie that made John Wayne – the original Rooster Cogburn – a star.
Instead, try: On the Waterfront (Nominated for ten Academy Awards in 1955). You know what’s realer than Boston? Hoboken. And do you know what’s sexier than Mark Wahlberg and more intimidating than Batman (or vice versa)? Marlon Brando.
Netflix status: Unavailable
Instead, try: The Red Shoes (Best Picture Nominee, 1949), or An American Werewolf in London (Best Makeup, 1982), or The Swan Princess (cruelly shut out in 1994). If you were awed by the overwhelming style of Black Swan, trust in Martin Scorsese and check out The Red Shoes. If, on the other hand, you love to be freaked out, try An American Werewolf in London. And if you hate self-destruction but love childhood and Swan Lake, The Swan Princess is also available.
Netflix status: Unavailable
Instead, try: Touching the Void (Nominated for a Best British Film BAFTA in 2004). In both films people, are bound to things they should not be bound to, and in the end a personal triumph is achieved, but at great cost. For a good time call: someone else.
OTHER NOMINEES TO WATCH INSTANTLY
While none of the 2011 Best Picture nominees are available to watch instantly, several notable movies nominated in other categories are, including…
I Am Love (Nominated for Best Costume Design)
Exit through the Gift Shop (Nominated for Best Documentary)
Restrepo (Nominated for Best Documentary)
Dogtooth (Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film)
Alice in Wonderland (Nominated for Best Visual Effects; Best Costume Design; Best Art Direction)