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Families Shouldn't Look to Oscar Nominations for Their Next Movie Night

Streaming services lead the way when it comes to age-appropriate films for kids.

Topics: Quality Media
Family watching movie together at home.

The Academy Award Nominations for 2023 were announced in January, and, once again, family films came up short. This year's nominated movies are mostly geared toward older teens and adults, a trend we've seen play out year after year. Plenty of great movies for kids were released in 2022, but most weren't playing in theaters, which is a requirement to get an Oscar nod. What we've seen, especially since the pandemic, is that top-level kids' content is launching on streaming services. Add that to AMC's recent ticket price increase announcement, and it's easy to see why families are finding it harder and more expensive to enjoy the traditional moviegoing experience.

Hollywood's focus when it comes to "kid" movies seems to be largely on titles like Avatar and the Marvel movies. Those are great for older tweens and up, but they're definitely not as kid-friendly as past favorites like The Peanuts Movie or The Grinch. Although both of those movies did well at the box office, gentle but entertaining films like them are few and far between—even on the streaming services. Which is a shame, since many families with younger kids are looking for movie options that aren't scary, don't have a villain, and are just fun and upbeat.

As I've written about before, G-rated family movies have basically become extinct. We haven't seen a G-rated movie nominated for an Oscar since Babe in 1996. I think there's a perception within the industry that if they give a movie a G rating, everyone except the very youngest children won't want to see it because it's too childish. So young children end up seeing films geared toward older kids because there isn't an option for them. Overall, there's a shortage of great movie options for kids 6 and under. Kids deserve more than simplistic animated stories for entertainment. It would be great to see an increase in kid-friendly movies that parents and kids want to watch together, with stories that are engaging, uplifting, and have positive messages. Families need more opportunities to enjoy the traditional movie theater experience.

Beyond just pure age-appropriate entertainment, family movies provide an opportunity to spend quality time together and can be an important way to bond. They can open a window to discussions around sensitive issues, and their characters can be role models for kids on how to handle issues they may be experiencing themselves. A great example of that from 2022 is Turning Red, which is nominated for an Oscar (though—no surprise—it's most appropriate for tweens and teens).

Bottom line? The best place to find great family-friendly options right now is on your own device, on platforms like Apple TV+, Vudu, Disney+, Amazon, and HBO Max. And, right now, the Oscars definitely aren't an indicator of the full range of what's out there in the world of family films. There are other sources for finding great kids' content—like the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, and, of course, Common Sense Media's ratings and reviews. Click here for a full list of great streaming picks for kids.

Betsy Bozdech

Betsy's experiences working in online parenting and entertainment content were the perfect preparation for her role as Common Sense's editorial director. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1997, she began her editorial career at and then served as an editor at,, and AOL's Digital City before working as the site content manager at Netflix for three years -- and then joining Common Sense Media in 2006. She's a lifelong movie and TV fan (favorites include The Princess Bride, 30 Rock, Some Like It Hot, Saturday Night Live, and Star Wars) and is delighted to have a job that makes keeping up on celebrity and pop culture news a necessity -- which, in turn, helps give her (a little) cred with her two kids.

In her role at Common Sense, Betsy has had the privilege of moderating a Comic-Con panel, serving as a juror for the San Francisco Film Festival, touring the set of Imagination Movers, interviewing filmmakers like The Good Dinosaur's Peter Sohn, and much more. She is also a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

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