Small screen, big movies

Small screen, big movies

Most of this year's Academy Awards contenders were released late in 2017, and as is often the case, many of the most-nominated films are still in theatres. Several top-category nominees from earlier in the year, however, are available to stream right now. Here's an updated list of those titles, along with where to stream them:

Dunkirk  

Nominated for: best picture, best director, best production design, best cinematography, best sound mixing, best original score, best film editing.

 

Christopher Nolan's treatment of the evacuation of more than 300,000 
allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, in 1940 eschews 
political context in order to draw viewers into a meticulous re-creation of the scene. Presenting the action on three different fronts, each on separate but elegantly dovetailing timelines, Nolan follows the soldiers pinned to the beach by German forces, the British civilian vessels commandeered for the rescue effort and the Royal Air Force pilots working to clear the airspace.

 

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes

The Big Sick  

Nominated for: best original screenplay.

In a savvy fusion of real-life crisis and rom-com convention, writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon turned the dramatic story of their courtship into the biggest hit to come out of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Nanjiani stars as a version of himself, a Pakistani-born stand-up comedian who's on the verge of breaking up with his girlfriend when she falls mysteriously ill and he ends up keeping watch with her parents in the hospital waiting room.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, iTunes

Mudbound  

Nominated for: best cinematography, best supporting actress, best original song, best adapted screenplay.

Director Dee Rees dissects the subtle and unsubtle effects of a racist culture in this adaptation of the Hillary Jordan novel about two rural families - one white, one black - whose lives become enmeshed in post-World War II Mississippi. Both families have young men returning from war, but the strong bond between those two veterans doesn't transcend the entrenched barriers of Jim Crow or prevent the injustices that ensue. Rees, who also helped write the script, has with her cast produced a beautiful, grand-scale epic for a modest cost.

Where to watch: Netflix

 



Blade Runner 2049  

 

Nominated for: best production design, best cinematography, best original sound mixing, best visual effects.

 

Reviving 'Blade Runner'  for modern audiences seemed like a dodgy idea, running up against the impossible standards of a cult favourite - and the fact that mainstream audiences didn't swarm theatres for the 1982 original in the first place. Director Denis Villeneuve couldn't solve the second problem, but 'Blade Runner 2049'  does extend and enrich the mythology of this noir-soaked future dystopia, where androids known as replicants are rebelling against their 
human masters.

 

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes

Victoria & Abdul

Nominated for: best costume design, best make-up and hair.

With seven nominations and one win, Judi Dench has became a perennial Oscar favourite, and the bona fides deepen for this royal drama from director Stephen Frears, who steered Helen Mirren to an Oscar for 'The Queen'  in 2007. 'Victoria & Abdul'  didn't make Dench a nominee this time around (the film received two nominations in technical categories), but Dench's performance is still a pleasure: she's given plenty of latitude here as Queen Victoria, a dyspeptic ruler who takes a surprising interest in Abdul Karim, an Indian Muslim who challenges her assumptions and earns an important role in her court.

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes

Logan  

Nominated for: best adapted screenplay.

The glossy, PG-13 homogeneity of superhero movies has needed some pushback for a while now, and James Mangold's violent twist on the X-Men mythology is a welcome shift of expectations. In his final turn as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman plays the washed-up hero of a mutant race on the verge of extinction, logging enough hours as a limo driver to care for the ailing Charles Xavier in exile, but otherwise doing little to aid humanity. All that changes when he agrees to drive an 11-year-old with extraordinary powers to a safe haven far up north, but the journey comes at a steep cost.

Where to watch: iTunes

Loving Vincent  

Nominated for: best animated feature.

Several directors have ruminated over the life of Vincent Van Gogh, including Vincente Minnelli & Akira Kurosawa, but none with the unique texture of 'Loving Vincent', which bills itself as "the world's first fully painted feature film." The unmistakable colours & swirls of Van Gogh's work have been used here to illustrate the mysterious circumstances that led to his death. The animators constructed their film out of about 65,000 hand-painted frames.

Where to watch: Amazon, iTunes

The Boss Baby  

Nominated for: best animated feature.

Popular success accounts for this movie's nomination more than critical approval, but Alec Baldwin does persuasive voice work as the executive tot, and the plot - about a pint-size agent who goes undercover to thwart a dastardly scheme by the head of Puppy Co. - has a high adorability factor.

Where to watch: Netflix, Amazon

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