Even if you live in major cities where smaller, independent films like Room, The Danish Girl or Anomalisa are actually still playing in theatres, keeping up with Oscar-worthy fare during Hollywood’s increasingly crowded award season can be a daunting task. And that goes double for film fans who travel for work or pleasure and barely have time to unpack, much less check out a movie at home between jaunts.
Fortunately, this year’s crop of Oscar nominees is a little bit different. And by different I don’t mean diverse, because, well, let’s face it, this year’s nominees are just as lily-white as ever. In fact, the announcers who unveiled the nominations on Thursday morning – Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), African-American Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and The Office star John Krasinski – might just be the most diverse thing about this year’s Academy Awards. But, hey, at least they snagged a funny black dude (Chris Rock) to host again, right?
In any case, the good news this year is that unlike in previous award seasons where the bulk of the Oscar-nominated films are released during the holidays, several of the heavy-hitters in 2015 were released in the summer and early fall and are already playing in-flight on a number of airlines worldwide.
In fact, four of the eight films nominated for Best Picture (Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Room) are being watched on airplanes somewhere in the world as we speak.
So, without further ado I give you a film geek primer on where to catch this year’s Oscar nominated films the next time you fly. Please keep in mind that this list is by no mean definitive and a number of the titles mentioned here, particularly bigger blockbuster hits like The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road, are playing on practically every inflight entertainment system in the air right now. So, check your carrier’s website before you fly for the most up-to-the-minute listings.
Also, I’m not suggesting you book a flight to Tokyo just to watch Best Song nominee Spectre on an airplane, but I can tell you that, as a rule, Bond movies play even better in-flight. Especially if you’re drinking something shaken and not stirred. So, bottoms up!
Best Picture Nominees:
Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Bros.)
Nominated for ten Academy Awards including nods for Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing and Best Director, Fury Road is now playing on select United and Virgin Atlantic flights.
The Martian (20th Century Fox)
Nominated for seven Oscars this year including Best Actor for Matt Damon (his third acting nod after taking home a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for co-writing 1997’s Good Will Hunting) The Martian is playing on select Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines flights.
Bridge of Spies (Walt Disney/20th Century Fox)
Nominated for six Academy Awards including Original Screenplay, Score, Production Design and a richly deserved Best Supporting Actor nod for three-time Tony award-winner Mark Rylance, Spies is playing on select American Airlines, Hawaiian and Virgin Atlantic flights worldwide.
Aside from their surprise Best Picture nod, Room is also nominated for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and looks like a favorite to win Best Actress for star Brie Larson after she took home top honors at the Golden Globes over the weekend. Look for Room on select Air Canada, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific flights worldwide.
Other High-Profile Nominees:
Also playing on select Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines flights right now are Best Feature Documentary nominee Amy, Best Original Screenplay nominee Ex Machina and the border drama Sicario, which picked up nominations for Best Original Score, Cinematography and Sound Editing on Thursday.
And though it failed to land a coveted Best Picture nomination, Straight Outta Compton did score a Best Original Screenplay nomination for its trio of white writers (insert joke here, Mr. Rock) and is currently playing on select Delta, Aer Lingus and Air France flights worldwide. And while critics are already having a field day with the fact that the only film featuring a predominantly African-American cast was written by three Caucasians, the fact that one of the Compton scribes is a woman is sort of a big deal.
In fact, four of the 20 writers nominated in the screenplay categories this year are women: Best Adapted Screenplay nominees Phyllis Nagy for Carol, Emma Donoghue for Room and Best Original Screenplay co-writers Megan LeFauve for Inside Out and Andrea Berloff for Compton. That might not sound like a huge percentage, but it’s definitely a step up from last year when no female writers were nominated at all. So, I’ll take whatever diversity I can get. Break a leg, ladies!