Get your Oscar flick fix without leaving the house
By the time the Oscars air on March 2, most moviegoers will not have been able to get to theaters to see all the nominees. But thanks to the era of DVD, Blu-ray, streaming video and movies on demand, those who really want to cram for Hollywood's big night can catch up on a bunch of the films at home.
Some of the front-runners still require a theater trip (more on that later), but for those of you who want to order in and prep for your office pool from the comfort of your own couch, it's possible to cover a lot of ground.
The biggest talkers
"Dallas Buyers Club" picked up six nominations, including best picture and best original screenplay, but its best chances are in the acting categories, where Matthew McConaughey is a front-runner for best actor and Jared Leto is up in the supporting actor category. The two already took home Golden Globes for their performances. It's available on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and On Demand.
"Captain Phillips" also received six nominations, including best picture, adapted screenplay, and actor in a supporting role for Barkhad Abdi, a non-actor who made a vivid debut in the role of a Somali pirate. Star Tom Hanks was overlooked for his equally strong performance. It's available on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and On Demand.
Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" earned Cate Blanchett her sixth Oscar nomination and she is a wonder as a Blanche DuBois in contemporary San Francisco. That would make fellow nominee Sally Hawkins (up for best supporting actress) the film's Stella. It's available on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and On Demand.
Two more best picture nominees are slated for release on Feb. 25, a week before the Oscars are handed out. "Gravity," which sends audiences into orbit with rookie astronaut Sandra Bullock, and "Nebraska," the wry road movie with Bruce Dern, also picked up nominations for their respective stars. Those films will land on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and On Demand.
"Frozen," Disney's most successful animated feature in decades, is still going strong in theaters, but two other films competing for best animated feature are readily available on disc and digital platforms. "Despicable Me 2," with Steve Carell reprising his voice role as a former supervillain turned doting dad to adorable orphans, is on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and On Demand. So is "The Croods," the family adventure comedy set in prehistoric times, but this one is now also available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Plus.
Two foreign language feature nominees are currently available for home viewing, and they couldn't be more different. "The Hunt," a harrowing drama of rumor and suspicion and self-righteous hysteria in a small Denmark community, is on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD, and it is now available to stream on Netflix. "The Broken Circle Breakdown," a romantic drama of love, sacrifice, and bluegrass music in Belgium, isn't on disc yet but it is available on VOD and On Demand.
If you have Netflix, you've got a pass for four of the five nominated films: "The Act of Killing," "Cutie and the Boxer," and "Dirty Wars" (which are also on DVD and VOD), plus the Netflix exclusive "The Square." And while Netflix doesn't have "20 Feet from Stardom," easily the most audience friendly of the five nominees, you can see it at home on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and VOD.
"The Grandmaster," Wong Kar-wai's gorgeous drama about the legendary martial arts teacher who mentored Bruce Lee, picked up nominations for cinematography and costume design. It's available on digital and VOD from Amazon Instant, with disc to follow in March.
If you're into visual effects, "Iron Man 3," "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and "The Lone Ranger" are readily available on disc and digital platforms and "All is Lost," the survival drama starring Robert Redford alone at sea, is currently on VOD and On Demand with disc release set for Feb. 11.
And for extra credit, don't forget that you can see the most unlikely film to ever get an Oscar nomination — "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," nominated for the old-age make-up on actor/prankster Johnny Knoxville — on disc and digital.
For hardcore filmgoers
AMC Cinemas is bringing back its "Best Picture Showcase," a festival of all nine films nominated for the top Oscar, to select locations. Four of the nominees — "Philomena," "Dallas Buyer's Club," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and "12 Years a Slave" — screen in a day-long event on Saturday, Feb. 22. And on the following Saturday, just a day before the Oscars are handed out, the other five films screen: "Nebraska," "Captain Phillips," "Her," "American Hustle," and "Gravity." That's some commitment but if you’re up for that kind of hardcore cinema marathon, series tickets are now on sale for both events.
You have your assignments: see you on March 2, when Ellen DeGeneres hosts the 86th Academy Awards on ABC.