You can watch this Oscar-nominated Netflix movie for free on YouTube — and it’s 93% on Rotten Tomatoes

An image from Nimona on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Best Animated Feature category at the 2024 Oscars will be fiercely contested with The Boy and the Heron and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse expected to duke it out for the top prize. But there’s also a Netflix movie nominated as well, and the streamer is making sure as many people as possible see this charming sci-fi adventure.

Netflix just uploaded Nimona to its YouTube channel. Yes, the entire movie. This isn’t an extended trailer, or a lengthy clip, or even the opening portion, this is the full 98-minute movie available to watch for free. You don’t need a Netflix account, just head over to YouTube (or click the embedded link below) and start watching right now. 

Naturally, Netflix isn’t in the habit of giving away access to its best movies for free very often, so this unexpected freebie makes for a welcome surprise. The streamer hasn’t explained the reason for this rare move, but it’s likely a way of promoting Nimona to a wider audience ahead of the 96th Academy Awards (which take place on Sunday, March 10) and generating some extra buzz for the flick. The movie has racked up almost half a million views in less the 24 hours, so the strategy would appear to be working. 

Nimona is a Netflix gem that you shouldn’t skip 

Nimona’s journey to release was a little difficult. Originally in development at Blue Sky Studios, the movie was effectively canceled in April 2021 following Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox (Blue Sky’s parent company). However, Annapurna Pictures stepped in to save the movie, and Netflix eventually bought the distribution rights to bring it to global audiences. 

It’s a good thing that Nimona didn’t get canned because the animated flick is pretty special. It’s set in a fantasy world that blends sci-fi and medieval elements and opens with a knight, Ballister Boldheart (voiced by Riz Ahmed), being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Venturing out on a journey to prove his innocence there’s only one person who can help him, Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shapeshifting teenager. 

There’s just the slight problem that Ballister has been training all his life to destroy Nimona. But as the unlikely pair of allies grow closer, and embark on a chaotic adventure across the kingdom, the lines between heroes and monsters start to blur, and they begin to develop a genuine bond of friendship. 

Debuting on Netflix last June, Nimona was an instant critical success. It currently holds a 93% rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes with the critic's consensus labeling it a “deeply lovable animated adventure” and praising its “splendid animation and thoughtful allegory.” Audiences were also impressed, rating it 91% from more than 2,500 total reviews. 

Nimona was worth watching back when you needed a Netflix account to stream, but now that the whole movie is available to watch for free on YouTube, there’s no excuse not to give this delightfully high-energy adventure a chance. It’s also worth watching to signal to Netflix that the streaming service should put more of its content on YouTube for free in the future. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.