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The Holdovers: Alexander Payne's Oscar-Nominated Retro Christmas Comedy Streaming on Peacock

The year is 1970 and three residents of Barton Academy are in for a life-changing holiday vacation.

By Josh Weiss
Dominic Sessa stars as Angus Tully and Paul Giamatti as Paul Hunham in director Alexander Payne’s THE HOLDOVERS

Director Alexander Payne's throwback Christmas comedy, The Holdovers, is now streaming exclusively on Peacock.

Starring Paul Giamatti (Billions) as a curmudgeonly teacher of ancient history forced to spend winter break with one of his least favorite students (played by newcomer Dominic Sessa), the film has received widespread critical acclaim and plenty of awards season buzz, including two Golden Globe wins. It currently holds a near-perfect score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes

Where to stream The Holdovers

Distributed by Focus Features, The Holdovers is now streaming exclusively on Peacock. It is also available to rent and/or purchase from digital platforms like Vudu and Apple TV+.

What is The Holdovers about?

Looking like it could have been made in the late 1960s or early '70s, The Holdovers tells the story of three lonely individuals — veteran history teacher Paul Hunham (Giamatti), student Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), and kitchen manager Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) — stranded at a New England boarding school for the holidays. "Left to their own devices in the empty school, this unlikely trio finds adventure, calamity, and finally, some semblance of family," reads the official synopsis.

The project, which takes place in 1970 and early 1971, marks the first reunion between Payne and Giamatti since 2004's Sideways (also streaming on Peacock). David Hemingson (creator of ABC's Whiskey Cavalier) wrote the screenplay.

"In a way, I’ve been making ‘70s movies my whole career,” Payne states in the production notes. "I focus on what I hope are very human stories as opposed to stories of device, convention, or contrivance. I like having a protagonist and story who approximate real life much more than movie life. Also, I was a history major in college and I still read a lot of history. Now I see that making period films is the closest thing you can do to time travel, so to have that experience was lovely."

What Oscars was The Holdovers nominated for?

The Holdovers picked up five nominations at the 96th Academy Awards. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Paul Giamatti for Best Actor, Da'Vine Joy Randolph for Best Supporting Actress, writer David Hemingson for Best Original Screenplay, and Kevin Tent for Best Film Editing. Of those five nominations, Randolph is considered the favorite to win in her category when the Oscars take place on Sunday, March 10. 

Giamatti and Randolph recently won Golden Globes for their moving performances, as well. 

How to subscribe to Peacock

The NBCUniversal platform currently offers two monthly subscription plans: Premium ($5.99 a month with ads) and Premium Plus ($11.99 a month with no ads and download access for certain titles). If you're a student, you can enjoy the Premium plan for just $1.99 for an entire year!

Looking for even more theatrical action? My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3The Exorcist: BelieverFast XRuby Gillman, Teenage Kraken; Five Nights at Freddy's; and Strays are also streaming.

Originally published Dec 22, 2023.