The Oscar-nominated movies to see before the 2022 Academy Awards

Academy Award Oscars statues

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted February 18, 2022

From Will Smith in the Williams sisters’ biopic, to Meryl Streep as an incompetent POTUS, here are our picks for the best Oscar-nominated movies and stars.  

The Academy Award ceremonies of the last few years have certainly been eventful, from the wrong film being announced as Best Picture (sorry, La La Land) to the event almost getting cancelled in the wake of COVID-19.  

While the pandemic has meant more nominated films streaming into our homes, avid moviegoers can still watch the films up for contention on both the big and small screen before the award ceremony this March 27 (airing in Australia on March 28).  

This year, the event colloquially known as 'The 'Oscars' is bringing back the glitz and glamour to the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, with a myriad of stars, performers, and deserving winners to show that the movies are back in business.  

So, whether you’re in it to see if Australia’s Nicole Kidman is going to bring home her second Best Actress statue for Being The Ricardos, if the songs in Encanto are truly as catchy as they say, if you're wondering why your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman is at the Oscars, or you just want to look at the fabulous costumes in Cruella and West Side Story, there’s never been a better time to watch a film in the name of ‘research’ before the big day. 

So pop the corn, bite into the choc-tops and get ready to play Armchair Critic with our top Oscar-nominated movies to see ahead of the movie industry’s answer to the Grand Final – the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

And the awards go to…

If you love a true story

A true story adds another layer when we watch tales unfold on screen. Knowing that the exceptional performances you are watching really happened in real life gives greater insight into the people, places, and events that have shaped history as we know it.  

King Richard – watch Will Smith’s Oscar-nominated role as the father of Venus and Serena Williams, and how he turned them from kids playing tennis into sporting legends. In cinemas. 

The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Jessica Chastain is a Best Actress contender for her portrayal of Tammy Fake Bakker, a 1970s tv evangelist and alleged schemer. Available in cinemas and on Disney +.   

Spencer – A week in the life of the late Lady Diana Spencer, with a Best Actress nomination for the performance by Kristen Stewart. Available in cinemas and on Amazon prime.   

Belfast – Up for Best Picture, a semi-autobiographical film by actor and director Kenneth Branagh about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. In cinemas.

If you just want to stream at home

Sometimes you just want to enjoy films from the comfort of your couch with an old-fashion cocktail and homemade snacks. If that’s the case, there are plenty of nominees that are streaming now:

Being The Ricardos – With both leads nominated in the best acting categories, look out for Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem’s portrayals of Lucy and Desi Ricardo from the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Streaming on Amazon Prime.  

The Power Of The Dog – This year’s most-nominated film, including for all four main actors, is a western drama about the difficult and toxic relationship between two brothers. Streaming on Netflix.  

The Lost Daughter – Olivia Coleman is gaining praise for her Oscar-nominated turn as a woman who becomes obsessed with a young mother (played by Dakota Johnson) and her daughter on holiday. Streaming on Netflix. 

Don’t Look Up – With an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jonah Hill just to name a few, Don’t Look Up focuses on two scientists who try to warn the world that a comet is on its way to destroy Earth – but everyone is too distracted to care. Streaming on Netflix. 

Encanto – Here’s one the whole family can get behind, perhaps in a DIY outdoor cinema. Pixar’s latest offering is up for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score. Set in Colombia, Encanto tells the tale of a young woman named Mirabel who is born into a family where every member has a magic power – except her. Streaming on Disney+.


Will Smith is generating buzz for his Oscar-nominated performance as Richard Williams, the father of the tennis legends Venus and Serena in King Richard. Image: Alamy.
Can Nicole Kidman bring a second Best Actress award home to Australia? She's nominated for her role as Lucille Ricardo in Being The Ricardos. Image: Alamy.
Come for the nomination, stay for the fashion - Cruella starring Emma Stone is nominated in the Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling categories. (Note: no puppies were harmed in the making of this post). Image: Alamy.
Parents will be delighted that kids now have something to sing along to besides Frozen. Disney Pixar's latest family-friendly flick is up for Best Animated Film, Best Original Score and Best Song. Image: Alamy.

If you’re in it for the music and fashion

Cinema is an art form, where the collective worlds of music, fashion, story and theatre collide. If you want to watch exceptional artistry on screen, you can try: 

Cruella – This one’s for the fashionistas. Alongside the film's  nominations for make-up and hairstyling, Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan is once again nominated for her take on 1970s punk-rock (Emma Stone's 'Cruella' has 47 costume changes alone!) Available on Disney +.   

West Side Story - In Steven Spielberg’s modern take on one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Oscar-nominated costume designer Paul Tazewell poured through over 60 years of fashion, with nods to the original film in his take on the beguiling love story. The flick is up for seven awards in total, including Best Sound and Best Picture. Available in cinemas and on Disney +. 

No Time To Die - the latest James Bond theme tune provides singer Billie Eilish with her first Oscar nomination for her catchy 007 song of the same name. Available on Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play. 

If you’re not into blockbusters

Nominated doesn’t have to mean superheroes and disaster. If you're looking for Oscar-nominated films with intriguing characters and insightful plots, consider: 

CODA - the headliner for the Melbourne International Film Festival is up for Best Picture, and focuses on a child of deaf adults who develops a passion for singing. This film also features a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Troy Kotsur, the first-ever male deaf actor in the category. Available on Apple TV. 

Licorice Pizza - the year’s indie darling and Best Picture-nominee is getting a lot of buzz for its realistic coming-of-age tale in 1970s California. In cinemas. 

The Worst Person In The World - Norway's offbeat flick is on the Best International Film nomination list, focusing on a woman’s search for meaning as her 30th birthday approaches.In cinemas and on Google Play. 

If you live for cool effects

Sometimes, films are simply better on the big screen. If you live for thrilling effects and mind-blowing cinematography, don't miss films up for Best Visual Effects including:

Spiderman No Way Home - the epic finale to Tom Holland's Spiderman trilogy and highest-grossing film of 2021 spins a web of crazy effects, cameos, and a fitting finish to the latest iteration of Peter Parker.  Available in cinemas, streaming on Apple TV, Youtube, Amazon Prime and Google Play. 

Dune - the epic sci-fi movie based on the novel of the same name stars Timothy Chamalet as a boy trusted with the most valuable element in the galaxy, with over 18 tonnes of sand used and shot by helicopter for the stunning visuals. In cinemas and streaming on Youtube. 

Shang-Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings - one of the latest characters to join the Marvel universe, Martial-arts master Shang-Chi, is nominated for Best Visual Effects, some of which were created by studios here in Victoria. Streaming on Disney +. 


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