For that answer, look no further than this year’s major categories — best picture, best documentary, etc — which provide a helpful guide to some films that are more than worth your time.
Here’s how to watch 29 of the best movies of the year, a list that includes some films most moviegoers have heard about and several gems you may not have:
A sci-fi movie with an out-of-this-world twist.
Also nominated for: best picture, best director (Denis Villeneuve), best cinematography, best film editing, best production design, best sound editing, best sound mixing, best adapted screenplay
A movie based on the August Wilson play.
Also nominated for: best picture, best actor in a leading role (Denzel Washington), best actress in a supporting role (Viola Davis), best adapted screenplay
A drama based on the true story of a WWII combat medic who goes to war and refuses to carry a weapon because of his religious beliefs.
Also nominated for: best picture, best actor in a leading role (Andrew Garfield), best director, best film editing,
“Hell or High Water”
A Western heist film about two bank-robbing brothers.
A story about three women who broke barriers during the space race.
Also nominated for: best picture, best actress in a supporting role (Octavia Spencer), best adapted screenplay
A whimsical tale about the ups and downs of two singing-and-dancing Los Angeles lovers.
Also nominated for: best picture, best actor in a leading role (Ryan Gosling), best actress in a leading role (Emma Stone), best cinematography, best costume design, best directing, best film editing, best original score, best original song (x2) (“Audition” and “City of Stars”), best production design, best sound editing, best sound mixing, best original screenplay
An inspiring — and at times harrowing — story of a young man’s search for his birth family.
Also nominated for: best picture, best actor in a supporting role (Dev Patel), best actress in a supporting role (Nicole Kidman), best cinematography, best original score, best adapted screenplay
A devastating story of grief and loss.
Also nominated for: best actor in a leading role (Casey Affleck), best actor in a supporting role (Lucas Hedges), best actress in a supporting role (Michelle Williams), best director, and best original screenplay,
A coming-of-age story that explores masculinity and sexuality.
Also nominated for: best actor in a supporting role (Mahershala Ali), best actress in a supporting role (Naomie Harris), best cinematography, best director, best film editing, best original score, best adapted screenplay
Best documentary feature
An eye-opening look at America’s criminal justice system from director Ava DuVernay.
“Fire at Sea”
A film about a “once peaceful Mediterranean island that becomes a major entry point for African refugees into Europe,” according to an official description.
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“A journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter,” according to an official description.
A story about a family who learns to harness the images and stories in Disney films to connect with their autistic son.
“O.J.: Made in America”
A five-part documentary miniseries that explores race and culture through the story of O.J. Simpson.
Best documentary short
A documentary that explores the emotional toll involved in making end-of-life decisions.
A devastating look at the European Migrant Crisis, told through the story of a coast guard captain and his crew who spend their days saving thousands of refugees from drowning in the sea.
A violin — donated to a school by a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor — ends up in the hands of a 12-year-old music lover from the Bronx.
“Watani: My Homeland”
A film that follows the three-year journey of family’s escape from Aleppo and their new life in Germany.
How to watch: Not currently available.
“The White Helmets”
A film about the Syrian Civil Defense, a group of volunteer rescue workers who save civilians amidst the danger and violence taking place in Syria and Turkey.
Best animated feature film
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
A boy named Kubo seeks out a magical suit of armor worn to help him fight a vengeful spirit from the past.
Also nominated for: best visual effects
A spunky teenage girl goes on an adventure with a demi-god to finish her ancestors’ unfinished quest.
Also nominated for: best original song (“How Far I’ll Go”)
“My Life as a Zucchini”
A stop-motion about a group of orphans who form a bond.
“The Red Turtle”
A dialogue-free film about a shipwrecked man who makes a new start.
A Disney movie about a mammal-filled metropolis.
Best foreign language film
“Land of Mine”
A movie inspired by true events about a group of young German POWs who are forced to clear landmines in Denmark, in hopes of eventually being sent home.
How to watch: In select Los Angeles and New York theaters starting February 10. Wider release to follow.
“A Man Called Ove”
An irate retiree forms a bond with a family who moves in next door.
Also nominated for: best makeup and hairstyling
A psychological thriller about a Iranian couple whose relationship becomes strained after moving into a new apartment.
A love story set in the South Pacific.