Skip to content

24 Oscar-Nominated Movies You Can Stream for Free Right Now

The nominations for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards were just announced. Here's how to watch them.

It's been an odd year for the film industry, but awards season forges ahead regardless. The 2021 Oscar nominations were announced on Monday, March 15, honoring the best of the year in film—at least according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And if there's one plus to theaters being less accessible than ever, it's that tons of Oscar-nominated movies are available to stream for free right now with streaming subscriptions you may already have. We ran down the list of major categories to bring you a list of Academy Award hopefuls you can stream to get you started on all the prestige flicks you may have missed in 2020. And for the films that broke our hearts, check out The Saddest Movie Deaths of All Time.


Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in Mank

Where to stream it: Netflix

This black-and-white biopic of Citizen Cane scribe Herman J. Mankiewicz scored the most Oscar nominations of any film this year. It's up for 10 awards: Best Picture, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman), and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Amanda Seyfried), as well as Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Sound. 


Frances McDormand in Nomadland
Searchlight Pictures

Where to stream it: Hulu

Leading Actress nominee Frances McDormand stars in Nomadland, a drama about a woman who picks up her life to travel around the United States in a van and the community of fellow nomads she meets along the way. It also has five other nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Chloé Zhao), Best Adapted Screenplay (also Zhao), Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.

For more acclaimed recent films, This Is the Best Movie of 2020, According to Critics.

Sound of Metal

Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal
Amazon Studios

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

Riz Ahmed got a Best Actor nod for Sound of Metal, in which he plays a hard rock drummer who's quickly losing his hearing. Other nominations for this one include Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Paul Raci), Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Trial of the Chicago 7
Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

Where to stream it: Netflix

Writer/director Aaron Sorkin's fictionalized take on the government's case against anti-war protestors from different groups who demonstrated at the 1968 Democratic National Convention walked away with six Oscar nods: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Sacha Baron Cohen), Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song for "Hear My Voice," Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.

And if you didn't know about Baron Cohen's acting chops, check out Sacha Baron Cohen Is Unrecognizable in These Serious Roles.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Viola Davis, Michael Potts, and Glynn Turman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
David Lee/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

This Netflix adaptation of the August Wilson play secured a posthumous Best Actor nod for Chadwick Boseman in his final onscreen role. Co-star Viola Davis is up for Best Actress, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is also competing for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Production Design.

The United States v. Billie Holiday

Andra Day in The United States v. Billie Holiday

Where to stream it: Hulu

Andra Day plays the iconic singer in this musical biopic, and she now has a first Best Actress Oscar nomination to her name. It's the only nod for The United States v. Billie Holiday, but with Day already winning the Golden Globe, she has a solid chance.

For more film recs sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Pieces of a Woman

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman
Benjamin Loeb / Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Like Day, star Vanessa Kirby is representing her film Pieces of a Woman, about a mother who loses her baby in childbirth, with a Best Actress Academy Award nomination.

For more iconic work from the past, check out 13 Great Oscar-Winning Performances That Still Hold Up.

One Night in Miami

Aldis Hodge and Kingsley Ben-Adir in One Night in Miami
Amazon Studios

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

First-time feature director Regina King was snubbed by the Academy, but her film One Night in Miami—based on a play that brings emerging cultural figures Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) together in a hotel room—came away with three nominations. Odom Jr. is up in the Best Supporting Actor and Best Song categories, and playwright Kemp Powers could win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Maria Bakalova and Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Amazon Studios

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

Breakout star Maria Bakalova may win an Oscar for her performance as Borat's daughter in this long-awaited sequel. The comedy, which brings the Kazakh reporter back to the U.S., is also up for Best Adapted Screenplay, which marks a second nomination this year for Baron Cohen.

Hillbilly Elegy

Glenn Close and Amy Adams
Lacey Terrell/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Despite some awful reviews, this adaptation of J.D. Vance's memoir about growing up in Appalachia was able to nab a Supporting Actress nomination for Glenn Close as well as one for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

For more movies that rubbed people the wrong way, check out The Worst Movie of 2020, According to Critics.


Pixar's Onward
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Where to stream it: Disney+

When it came out in March 2020, no one knew Pixar's Onward would be one of the last movies many families would see in theaters. Now, the animated movie that sees two brothers travel through a fantastical world to bring back their deceased father could be this year's Best Animated Feature.

Over the Moon

Over the Moon

Where to stream it: Netflix

Over the Moon, an American and Chinese production about a little girl who dreams of traveling to the moon to meet a goddess, is also competing in the Best Animated Feature category.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Chris Johnson, Stuart Collis/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Another nominee for Best Animated Feature, this sequel to the 2015 stop-motion flick Shaun the Sheep is streaming on Netflix.


Pixar's Soul
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Where to stream it: Disney+

Pixar's Soul follows a jazz musician as he learns how the afterlife works. In addition to being nominated for Best Animated Feature, it's also up for an Oscar in the Best Original Score category.


Apple Inc./GKIDS

Where to Watch: Apple TV+

Maybe not as well known as the Pixar entries, Wolfwalkers rounds out the Best Animated Feature category and is a family adventure borrowed from Irish folklore.

The White Tiger

Adarsh Gourav in The White Tiger
Tejinder Singh Khamkha​/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Writer/director Ramin Bahrani is responsible for the sole nomination for the Netflix film The White Tiger, about an Indian man who finds his fortune. The filmmaker scored a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for transferring the book on which it's based to the screen.

The Life Ahead

Sophia Loren and Diego Pirvus in The Life Ahead
Regine De Lazzaris AKA Greta/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Songwriters Diane Warren and Laura Pausini are nominated for Best Original Song for "Io Sì (Seen)" for this Italian film about a Holocaust survivor who establishes a life-changing friendship with a Senegalese child.

Eurovision Song Contest

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest
John Wilson/Netflix

Where to stream it: Netflix

Yes, this Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams musical comedy about two Eurovision hopefuls is now Oscar nominated. The power ballad "Húsavík" is up for Best Original Song.

Da 5 Bloods

Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Jonathan Major, and Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Where to stream it: Netflix

Fans of this Spike Lee film about Vietnam War buddies who make a pilgrimage back to the country will tell you that it was robbed of other nominations, including one for actor Delroy Lindo. In the end, it only picked up one nod for Terence Blanchard's original score.

News of the World

Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel in News of the World
Universal Pictures

Where to stream it: Apple TV+

Leads Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel were also favorites going into awards season, but none of this Western's four nominations are for acting. It's competing for Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design.

And for Hanks movies that didn't fair so well, check out The Worst Tom Hanks Movie of All Time, According to Critics.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Where to stream it: Netflix

In the Best Documentary Feature category, you can find this Netflix film about a New York summer camp that ended up creating a generation of disability rights advocates.

The Mole Agent

The Mole Agent
Gravitas Ventures

Where to stream it: Hulu

Also nominated for Best Documentary Feature, this Spanish-language film follows an elderly private investigator who infiltrates a long-term care home to determine whether the residents are being mistreated.

My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher

Where to stream it: Netflix

A filmmaker makes friends over time with a wild, South African octopus in this Best Documentary Feature nominee.


Fox Rich in Time
Amazon Studios

Where to stream it: Amazon Prime

And finally, there's Time, which also got a nod for Best Documentary Feature. It's the story of Sibil Fox Richardson, a former inmate and prison abolition activist who's been campaigning for the release of her husband for decades.

And for more streamable shows to dive into, check out 16 Netflix Shows You Can Watch From Start to Finish This Weekend.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
Filed Under