The 2019 Oscars are in the books. Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most awards with four, followed by Green Book, Roma, and Black Panther with three each. The ceremony — the first without a host in 30 years — yielded several milestone wins, and 15 films earned trophies in 24 categories.
If you’re ready to catch up on the winning films, you’re in luck; many of them are still in theaters, and most are available to watch at home as well.
Here’s how you can watch all 15 of 2019’s Oscar-winning films.
What it won: Supporting Actress (Regina King)
How to watch it: If Beale Street Could Talk is playing in select theaters.
What it’s about: For his follow-up to Moonlight, which won Best Picture in 2017, director Barry Jenkins chose to adapt James Baldwin’s 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk. Set in Harlem, the story centers on a young black couple (played by Stephan James and newcomer KiKi Layne) who grew up together and fell in love.
But then conflict takes over — not originating from inside their relationship, but pressing in from the outside world.
If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful, expressive film, at times feeling like a tone poem or lyrical plaint, with a stacked cast that also features Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, and Brian Tyree Henry. It’s set in the 1970s, but due to the way it confronts how sexual assault allegations, policing, and racism can interlock for communities of color, it feels incredibly contemporary too. It’s hard not to fall under its beautiful, somber, lustrous spell, and as a story about black American life framed as a love story, its images are indelible.
What it won: Documentary Feature
What it’s about: National Geographic Documentary Films is the distributor behind Free Solo, and that makes sense: It’s a film about free climber Alex Honnold, who’s planning to scale the 3,000-foot vertical rock face known as El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park … without ropes.
Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin — who, because of Chin’s connection to the climbing community, are friends of Honnold’s — the film is certainly a nail-biter. But soaring footage of Honnold climbing is interspersed with a more intimate look at his life, his travels, and his relationship with his girlfriend. The juxtaposition of the two brings humanity to a story that otherwise could have been just a thrill ride.
The resulting film is both beautiful and harrowing. It’s also a thoughtful look at what drives people like Honnold to attempt feats like this, the high stakes they willingly take on, and the effect their decisions have on their lives and relationships.
What it won: Makeup and Hairstyling
How to watch it: Vice is currently in theaters.
What it’s about: Few movies in 2018 were more divisive than Vice, writer-director Adam McKay’s tale of the modern Republican Party as concentrated in the person of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Everyone in the film was a public figure and is portrayed by some famous actor. Christian Bale plays Cheney, and he — along with Amy Adams as Cheney’s wife Lynne, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush — take up most of the screen time. (Bale, Adams, and Rockwell all scored acting nominations for their performances — in the Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, and Supporting Actor categories, respectively.) But there’s a parade of familiar supporting characters too, including Colin Powell (Tyler Perry), Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk), and Condoleezza Rice (LisaGay Hamilton), as well as many senators, Congress members, Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, and others.
Watching Vice can feel like watching a highlight reel from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, except in a depressing way. Certainly, the movie is not an attempt to convert anyone to a new way of thinking; the audience for this sort of film is likely already sympathetic to the most obvious of McKay’s theses, which is that Dick Cheney is a heartless guy. But at times, the movie feels most interested in indicting America for choosing Bush and Cheney in the first place — which means it’s preaching to the choir.
Read our roundtable on Vice.
What it won: Costume Design, Production Design, Original Score
What it’s about: Black Panther was the No. 1 box office hit in 2018 for a reason: With a stellar cast and a story that doubles as a groundbreaking celebration of black culture, it delighted audiences and felt like a game changer for Marvel. And with its history-making Best Picture nomination, it has also become one of the most celebrated superhero movies of all time, boasting strong direction from Ryan Coogler and performances from Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and many others.
Part of what sets Black Panther apart is its brilliant treatment of its fictional setting, Wakanda. As Tre Johnson previously wrote for Vox, “It acknowledges and celebrates everything from traditional African society to African-American political debates, from the power and beauty of black women to the preservation of identity, all within the lush confines of the fictional African nation of Wakanda.” That’s quite an accomplishment — especially for a superhero blockbuster.
What it won: Cinematography, Foreign Language Feature, Director
How to watch it: Roma is in select theaters and streaming on Netflix.
What it’s about: Roma was one of the 2019 Oscars’ two most-nominated films, with a total of 10 nominations; it’s a lushly shot, monochromatic domestic drama from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men) that tells the story of a family living in Mexico City in the early 1970s, and a girl named Cleo (played by newcomer Yalitza Aparicio, in a stunning turn that also earned her an Oscar nomination for Lead Actress) who works for them.
Focusing on the struggles and strength of the family’s women, Roma is funny, sad, and carefully told, a challenge to simply sit and pay attention to people who find themselves overlooked in their own homes. In addition to directing, Cuarón also served as cinematographer, and he chose to set the women’s stories — first and foremost Cleo’s — against the backdrop of political unrest in Mexico City. Cuarón also won for both directing and cinematography, making him the only director in history to do so.
Given its sensitive, gorgeous rendering that’s garnered comparisons to world cinema masters like Fellini and Bresson, it’s no wonder that Roma turned out to be one of the year’s strongest awards contenders. (It was also the first film from a streaming service to be nominated for Best Picture.) It’s an incredible sensory experience, full of layered visuals and sound, that richly rewards the sensitive, attentive viewer.
Read our roundtable on Roma.
What it won: Lead Actor (Rami Malek), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Editing
What it’s about: Fans of Queen were delighted by Bohemian Rhapsody, which mostly tracks the life of lead singer Freddie Mercury (played Rami Malek, who won Lead Actor for his performance) from the day he talked his way into fronting the band through the band’s legendary 1985 Live Aid performance, which the movie recreates in detail. That scene, along with one in which the band records the song “Bohemian Rhapsody,” is the much-needed high of the film.
But the way it scrambles some aspects of Mercury’s career while seeming strangely ashamed of his personal life was enough to ruin the movie for many people — particularly because the narrative it builds around Mercury is nowhere near as colorful and vibrant as its subject. Sloppy storytelling may have been bearable in a movie that showed some passion for the iconic figure at its center; Bohemian Rhapsody is just a limp mess of a film — though for fans of Queen’s music, there’s still enough to keep it afloat.
What it won: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Original Screenplay
What it’s about: Green Book was the top winner at the Golden Globes in January, and though it didn’t fare quite as well at the Oscars, it won four of the five awards for which it was nominated, including Best Picture. Directed by comedy veteran Peter Farrelly, Green Book is “inspired” by the true friendship of Tony Vallelonga, an Italian-American chauffeur/bodyguard from the Bronx, and Don Shirley, the black pianist Vallelonga was hired to drive and protect on a concert tour through the Deep South in 1962. It’s often funny, with some poignant moments and a heart that feels like it’s in the right place.
But the movie has been dogged by controversy almost since its premiere. Its co-writer Nick Vallelonga (son of Tony) came under fire for spreading an Islamophobic conspiracy theory on Twitter. Old stories about Farrelly “pranking” women by forcing them to look at his genitals resurfaced as well. Shirley’s family disputed his portrayal in the film and said they hadn’t been contacted about the details, prompting Ali, who plays Shirley, to call them and apologize. And perhaps most troublingly, the film sloppily portrays the Green Book it is named for, leaving out or misrepresenting some pertinent details and flattening its history.
What it won: Animated Feature
How to watch it: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is currently in theaters and arrives on iTunes on February 26.
What it’s about: No Spider-Man movie should ever leave its audience asking: What made this one different? And Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse doesn’t disappoint.
The animated movie is sleek and soaring, a wonderful paean to the spirit of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s legendary webslinger, embodying the relentless hope and optimism of its hero in such a classic way. It also breaks exhilarating new ground — via dazzling fight scenes and thrilling action sequences that live-action filmmaking doesn’t always allow for. The result feels tremendously innovative, while still traditionally Spidey.
Through the story of a new Spider-Man, one Miles Morales, writers Phil Lord (who co-directed the film) and Rodney Rothman seem to inherently understand the wide array of joys, fears, and uncertainties that all kids experience and that all adults are familiar with. Into the Spider-Verse treats its characters’ emotions with care and validity, all the while trying to solve a puzzle that has long stumped people of all ages: Who am I supposed to be? And the scarier follow-up: What if I don’t deserve that identity?
What it won: Animated Short Film
What it’s about: Bao accompanied Pixar’s Incredibles 2 in theaters, and shares with the longer film an interest in relationships between parents and children. But Bao — a touching and comically surrealist take on that theme — comes from a distinct and unique viewpoint. It’s the story of a Chinese mother (and empty nester) who spends her days lonely, until a dumpling (bao) she’s made suddenly comes to life. The mother delights in her new companion, who plays in the bath, goes shopping with her, and grows up rapidly — too rapidly, for the mother’s taste.
It’s a metaphor, of course, one that director Domee Shi (the first woman to direct a Pixar short film) drew from her own experience as the child of Chinese immigrants in Canada, and it has a distinctly Chinese perspective. It’ll tug at your heartstrings and make you giggle, and you’ll never think about parenthood — or eat bao — in quite the same way again.
What it won: Documentary Short Subject
How to watch it: Period. End of Sentence. is streaming on Netflix.
What it’s about: Directed by 25-year-old Iranian-American director Rayka Zehtabchi, Period. End of Sentence. takes on an issue that affects the lives of millions of women in rural India, where the stigma around menstruation is so strong that 23 percent of women drop out of school when they reach puberty and start to have periods. So it’s revolutionary when a group of women use a new machine to make inexpensive sanitary pads.
Zehtabchi became involved in the project when Melissa Burton, a teacher in Los Angeles, traveled with students to India to set up the machine. When Burton and her students returned, they set up the Pad Project, an organization devoted to shedding light on the stigma and to its effect on young women, and approached Zehtabchi about making a film. The result is moving and inspiring — and does just what they’d hoped.
What it won: Live Action Subject
How to watch it: Skin is available on iTunes as part of the nominated shorts package.
What it’s about: Skin is a morality tale, the story of a young boy being raised by a virulently white supremacist father. He loves his son but has no qualms about violently beating a black man in front of him because the man looked at him in the grocery store. And from there, the film takes a very unexpected turn.
Skin’s greatest strength is in how it shows the ways that hate gets passed from generation to generation — an insight that’s applicable far beyond white supremacy. The film starts out mixing the father and son’s daily activities — shooting guns, hanging out at home — with shocking moments of hate and violence, and the juxtaposition is a startling reminder that racism can be very deeply ingrained, even in people who love their children and live ordinary lives.
What it won: Visual Effects
What it’s about: First Man, from director Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and screenwriter Josh Singer (The Post, Spotlight), is less concerned with delivering a triumphalist portrayal of the 1969 moon landing — which has been done before, we’ve all seen it — and more with painting a portrait of astronaut Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) as he saw himself.
Based on Armstrong’s authorized biography, First Man presents a historic moment through the lens of an intimate personal experience, reminding us that events that appear triumphant in history’s rearview mirror often come at the expense of pain and great personal sacrifice shouldered by real people. We’re allowed to see the moon landing through Armstrong’s eyes, but in return, the film asks us to respect what he went through to get there.
What it won: Adapted Screenplay
What it’s about: Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman — a critique of the age of Donald Trump by way of a true story from the 1970s about a black cop who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan — took home the Grand Prix at Cannes, which is the second-highest honor the prestigious festival gives out. Styled after blaxploitation films, the movie stars John David Washington, Adam Driver (who earned a Supporting Actor nomination for his performance), and Topher Grace (who plays a pitch-perfect KKK grand wizard David Duke).
BlacKkKlansman is a passionate, no-holds-barred film excoriating white supremacy and those who adhere to it, and it pleased many critics and audiences. I didn’t feel the same way — its heavy-handedness about modern parallels seemed to both mistrust viewers and blunt its force — but there’s no doubt that it generated a lot of discussion. And it netted Spike Lee his first Oscar ever, as well as his first Best Director nomination, which feels long overdue.
What it won: Original Song (for “Shallow”)
What it’s about: For his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper took on the much-adapted narrative of A Star Is Born, which first appeared in 1937 and then was remade in 1954, 1976, and now 2018. Cooper stars alongside Lady Gaga in the 2018 version, a love story about a fading music star who gives a talented newcomer the push she needs to break through — and then she begins to eclipse him.
Laced with instantly memorable songs and outstanding performances, 2018’s A Star Is Born is the kind of movie that tries to harness all its cinematic possibility to make your heart burst, and it more or less succeeds. A Star Is Born earned a total of eight nominations but only took home one, for the song “Shallow.”
What it won: Lead Actress (Olivia Colman)
What it’s about: A deliciously wicked, loosely historically based drama from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (who earned an Oscar nomination in 2017 for his screenplay for The Lobster and was nominated again in the category this year), The Favourite is a dark comedy about three women: Queen Anne (Olivia Colman, nominated for Lead Actress), her closest friend and adviser Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz, nominated for Supporting Actress), and the young woman (Emma Stone, also nominated for Supporting Actress) who joins the household and starts to usurp Sarah’s coveted spot.
The film’s luxurious interiors, cockeyed sensibility, and complex trio of female characters with frank views on power, sexuality, and what they want out of life make for a film that’s both entertaining and loaded with pathos, feeling uneasily authentic in how it depicts what it takes to attain power. It was tied with Roma for the most nominations at the 2019 Oscars (each film earned a total of 10), and the three performances at its center are funny, complex, and unsparing. That was especially true for Colman, a beloved TV and film actress (and the new Queen Elizabeth on The Crown) whose time on the Oscar stage finally arrived.