The 2023 Oscars nominations are in and there are several surprising (and deserving) films competing for Best Picture. An Irish dark comedy, an Elvis Presley biopic, and a film based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood are just a few of the notable contenders. (Per usual, there are a few baffling choices as well.)
One of the best things about the prestigious annual awards ceremony is the light it shines on movies many may have missed throughout the year. Fortunately, half of the 10 best films are currently streaming, several are available to rent, and a few can still be caught in theaters.
To help you brush up before the 95th Academy Awards ceremony on March 12, 2023, we’ve outlined a handy guide for how (and where) to watch the 2023 Oscars Best Picture nominees.
The 2023 Oscars Best Picture Contenders Currently Streaming
All Quiet on the Western Front
Streaming on Netflix
Based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, this dramatic war film is set in the final days of World War I. It follows the life of a German soldier (played by Felix Kammerer) after he joins the war and realizes how horrible it is in reality. His dreams of becoming a hero are quickly ruined as he struggles just to survive. Violent and heavy, one thing the film adds in (in contrast to the book) is the negotiations to end the war. The movie is mostly in French and German, so be prepared to read subtitles.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Streaming on HBO Max
An Irish tragicomedy, this film stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two lifelong friends who live on a fictitious remote island off the coast of Ireland. One day, Colm (Gleeson) tells Pádraic (Farrell) that he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore. Pádraic is stunned and confused. He works to repair the friendship until Gleeson tells him that if he doesn’t leave him alone, he’s going to start chopping off his own fingers. But Pádraic still can’t accept this. His sister (Kerry Condon) and a local boy (Barry Keoghan) become his new confidants as he tries to understand Colm and his new life without him. As Pádraic continues to push Colm to his breaking point, the consequences get darker and more shocking.
Streaming on HBO Max
Starring Austin Butler, this Elvis Presley biopic was directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby). Butler just won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Drama Motion Picture for his epic portrayal of the American music icon. The film explores Presley’s rise to stardom (including his childhood) as well as his ultimate fall when he becomes addicted to opiates. Most things are great about this film, except Tom Hank’s portrayal of Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. That was absolutely cringe-worthy (and apparently Razzie-worthy). Still, worth a watch.
Top Gun: Maverick
Streaming on Paramount +
This sequel to the iconic 1986 film starring Tom Cruise is an incredible experience in theaters. But since it’s been out since the summer, it may be hard to still find a big screen showing. Don’t fret. You can still watch it at home with streaming. Set more than 30 years after the original film, one of the Navy’s top aviators Pete “Maverick” Mitchell is still breaking boundaries as a test pilot until one day he pushes things a bit too far. He’s then tasked with training a group of aviators for a seemingly impossible mission. And Goose’s (the fellow pilot whose death he finds himself responsible for) son is one of his trainees — played by Miles Teller.
Streaming on Peacock
Streaming on Peacock on January 27, this psychological drama follows renowned musician Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) as she prepares for the recording of the symphony that will make her career. But things take a turn when a previous protege of Lydia’s re-emerges. The first female chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic must confront these haunting personal issues while trying to elevate her career. At the 28th Critics Choice Awards, Blanchett won Best Actress for her work in this film.
The 2023 Oscars Best Picture Films Available to Rent or Purchase
Triangle of Sadness
Written and directed by Ruben Östlund, this dark comedy is a hilarious (and sometimes disgusting — be prepared for lots of vomiting scenes) take on the ever-growing-in-popularity genre of bad things happening to the super-rich. Similar to The Menu or The White Lotus, several wealthy couples (plus a young fashion model celebrity couple who got the cruise for free) embark on a yacht cruise. Woody Harrelson is the captain, who after days of being drunk in his room, eventually reveals himself at the Captain’s Dinner where the weather is getting really bad. Told in three parts and settings, this film led by Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean (the influencer couple) is a spectacle to watch.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
This action, comedy, sci-fi hybrid film by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert stars Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians) as Evelyn, an aging Chinese immigrant who can’t seem to finish her taxes and gets swept up exploring other universes. Also starring James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Stephanie Hsu (all of whom were nominated for acting Oscars along with Yeoh), the film explores what it’s like for one woman to get a glimpse at the other lives she could have lived. One of the most incredibly unique, smart, and funny films that I’ve seen in a long time, the movie doesn’t just attempt to shock audiences with its jaw-dropping scenes — although that is a very entertaining part of it. It also has an intensely emotional storyline. The film has already won Best Picture at the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards.
Best Picture Films Currently in Theaters
Winner of Best Drama Motion Picture (plus four other awards) at this year’s Golden Globes, Steven Spielberg’s movie based on his own life is a hit with critics. Set in the post-World War II era in Arizona, The Fabelmans follows a boy named Sammy Fabelman as he aspires to become a filmmaker. During this time, he discovers a family secret that prompts him to discover the truth through film. The movie stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as Mr. and Mrs. Fabelman, as well as Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy. Seth Rogen also makes an appearance.
Currently playing in theaters, this new drama is based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Miriam Toews. It’s inspired by real-life events that occurred at the Manitoba Colony in Bolivia. Starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, and Frances McDormand, the movie is also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. Directed by Sarah Polley, Women Talking is a powerful story with some great performances.
Avatar: The Way of Water
I will just be blunt and say I did not enjoy this movie. While I was mesmerized by the incredible visuals for about an hour, I was bored to tears for the next two. Extremely hyped after a 13-year break after the original came out, James Cameron’s sequel picks back up on Jake Sully and Ney’tiri’s family as they face war against the humans. They retreat to another region of Pandora where all of the water-based Na’vi live — then they just ultimately bring war to their home. Oh, and Kate Winslet’s avatar is pregnant and Sigourney Weaver voices her Na’vi daughter, Kiri Sully.