With all the excitement of the Oscars last night, we bet that many of you can’t wait to watch some of winning movies (and excellent runners-up).
Unfortunately for most of us, the option to watch them (at least legally) is unavailable at the present time thanks to global licencing restrictions, although residents of the United States, who almost invariably gain access to movies before anyone else does, can see them. Thanks to the wonders of VPN (and DNS spoofing) however, it easy to fake having a US IP address, making access to these geo-restricted titles available for all.
Because the services listed below require payment for the movies, you may need to register a US account using a US postal address. This is easy enough to obtain – just zoom into somewhere in the US using Google Maps and double-click on a building to obtain a valid postal address and zip code, then pay using an Amazon or iTunes gift card (widely available, or available on eBay).
I signed into my regular UK Amazon account from a US IP address however, and was able to stream 12 Years a Slave via the Amazon Instant Video service without having to jump through these hoops. I don’t have a Netflix account, but understand this should for Netflix as well.
Winner of Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay awards
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design awards
‘Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.’
Winner of Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Music (Original Score), Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing awards
Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Production Design awards
‘Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.’
Winner of Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling awards
Nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, awards
‘Dallas 1985. Electrician and sometimes rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof lives hard, which includes heavy smoking, drinking, drug use (primarily cocaine) and casual sex. He is a stereotypical redneck: racist and homophobic. While in the hospital on a work related injury, the doctors discover and inform him that he is HIV+, and that he will most-likely die within thirty days. Ron is initially in angry denial that he would have a disease that only “faggots” have, but upon quick reflection comes to the realization that the diagnosis is probably true. He begins to read whatever research is available about the disease, which at this time seems to be most effectively treated by the drug AZT. AZT, however, is only in the clinical trials stage within the US. Incredulous that he, as a dying man, cannot pay for any drug which may save or at least prolong his life, he goes searching for it by whatever means possible’
Winner of Best Actress award
Nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay awards
‘Jasmine French used to be on the top of the heap as a New York socialite, but now is returning to her estranged sister in San Francisco utterly ruined. As Jasmine struggles with her haunting memories of a privileged past bearing dark realities she ignored, she tries to recover in her present. Unfortunately, it all proves a losing battle as Jasmine’s narcissistic hangups and their consequences begin to overwhelm her. In doing so, her old pretensions and new deceits begin to foul up everyone’s lives, especially her own.’
Nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing awards
‘Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is – through director Paul Greengrass’s distinctive lens – simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips’ unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.’
Nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography awards
‘Nebraska is a father and son road trip, from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska that gets waylaid at a small town in central Nebraska, where the father grew up and has scores to settle. Told with deadpan humor and a unique visual style, it’s ultimately the story of a son trying to get through to a father he doesn’t understand.’
Nominated for Best Foreign Feature award
‘A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.’
Nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design awards
‘Ip Man’s peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family’s honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San.’
Nominated for Best Documentary Feature
‘Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the hidden world of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. Part action film and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time. What begins as a report on a deadly U.S. night raid in a remote corner of Afghanistan quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). As Scahill digs deeper into the activities of JSOC, he is pulled into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams “find, fix, and finish” their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the “kill list,” including U.S. citizens.’
Nominated for Best Documentary Feature
‘A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.’
Available from Netflix
Movie synopsis taken from ‘Storyline’ sections of IMDb website, and copyright of respective authors (credited on linked-to IMDB pages).