You’ve caught up with all 10 best picture nominees and still have a few days to go before the 87th annual Academy Awards. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can watch some of the earlier works of the best picture nominated directors ahead of the 2015 awards show. Here are six of our top picks:
1. “The Imitation Game,” Morten Tyldum - “Headhunters” (2011) A man with a hidden past plays a major role in Tyldum’s previous film, “Headhunters.” The Norwegian heist caper plays at a different pace than his Oscar nominated “The Imitation Game,” but the film proves that the director can fit a lot of plot into a tight runtime.
2. “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater - “Slacker” (1991) Visit Linklater’s early adulthood on the streets of Austin as he ambles from aimless conversation to aimless conversation in “Slacker.” The breezy, laid back tone is something you’ll find familiar as a fan of “Boyhood” or his “Before Sunrise” trilogy where conversation drifts in like wind in spring.
3. “Birdman,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu - “Amores Perros” (2000) Introducing international audiences to a very young Gael Garcia Bernal was not Iñárritu’s only contribution with this layered drama, whose title roughly translates to “Love’s a B---h.” Several characters’ lives intersect after a terrible car crash, not terribly unlike how the play keeps the difficult actors coming back together in “Birdman.”
4. “American Sniper,” Clint Eastwood - “Mystic River” (2003) Based on one of the popular Boston-based books by Dennis Lehane, “Mystic River” is the muddy tale of three longtime townie friendships gone sour when one of their daughters is murdered. Starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, it’s one of Eastwood’s most iconic directorial efforts.
5. “Selma,” Ava DuVernay - “I Will Follow” (2010) DuVernay proves herself to be a master of conversational dialogue in her heartbreaking debut. In “I Will Follow,” she tells the story of Maye, a grieving young woman trying to reassemble her life after her beloved aunt passes away. The story came from DuVernay’s personal loss, as she recounts the story in the Roger Ebert documentary, “Life Itself.”
6. “The Theory of Everything,” James Marsh - “Man on Wire” (2008) Before Marsh embarked on his Stephen Hawking biopic, he had a successful career as a documentarian. The most notable of which was the Oscar-winning “Man on Wire” about stunt wire walker Philippe Petit as he recalls his death-defying walk across the top of the two Twin Towers. It serves as a documentary of the man’s work and a tribute to the iconic New York skyscrapers.
Unfortunately, there’s no Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) or Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”) films to watch on Netflix. If you’re a Hulu+ subscriber, you can nerd out over Anderson’s curated Criterion list that includes Robert Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar” and Max Ophuls’ “The Earrings of Madame de...” the latter of which lends a few elements to his Oscar-nominated film.
The 87th annual Academy Awards airs this Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.