Rooting for your favorite movies on Oscar night certainly helps make the show more dramatic and fun, although the technical categories can be a bit tough to make arguments for.
Who knows exactly why Production Design goes to one movie over another? But at least you have seen or heard of all the movies that are nominated. Then there are those other categories - you know the ones I am talking about. The shorts, the foreign films, and the documentaries, where maybe one person in the room can say they might have heard something about one of them.
If you do an Oscar ballot, those are the categories that score the fewest points, because they are just blind picks. No one has seen any of them.
Well, times are changing, and now you have the ability to check out some of those unheard of categories. Netflix is currently streaming four of the five best documentary features nominees and one of the best foreign film nominees. Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square and The Act of Killing are the documentaries available, while The Hunt is the foreign film.
For Oscar enthusiasts this is an exciting opportunity. Unless a documentary made a huge splash in the theater (Fahrenheit 9/11) you would need to make a mental note of what movie won and wait for it to come out on DVD. Same for the foreign films (Pan's Labyrinth might have been the last popular foreign film most people heard about before the Oscars, and it didn't even win).
Unfortunately, the shorts are not available, but hopefully that will change as well, and we the audience will have the chance to see every movie that is nominated.