By Rashmi Goel
Get Into The Holiday Spirit With These Oscar-Winning Films
If Netflix offers a number of "Oscar movies" that may appeal to you if you're looking to add a little prestige to your viewing experience. It can be challenging to find exactly what you're looking for, so below we've compiled a list of the best Oscar movies on Netflix. In order to whittle this list down, we included only films that were nominated for at least one Oscar. Therefore, even though a film like Gangs of New York received several nominations, it did not win an Oscar. Despite this, there are still plenty of films to choose from that received Academy Awards recognition. There are classic Best Picture winners, recent hits, and even forgettable but still enjoyable films that won the award. Here are the best Oscar movies on Netflix right now.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Winona Ryder plays Susanna, an aimless 18-year-old sent to a psychiatric hospital after taking an overdose caused by a nervous breakdown. As she finds her way to Lisa, Angelina Jolie's charismatic but troubled character, she is immediately drawn to her. With a setting of 1967 New England, it is both an evocation of the time and a profile of the people society discards for no reason at all. Throughout, the characters are portrayed with a sense of humanity built on love, showing their struggles with an honesty that doesn't judge, but also isn't blind to their flaws. Considering it is based on the memoir of the same name, there is a conversation to be had about the changes made from the source material, but it only makes it all the more compelling as a cinematic artifact.
The Blind Side (2009)
Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her husband, Sean (Tim McGraw), take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael's legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. Michael's tremendous size and protective instincts make him a formidable force on the gridiron, and with help from his new family and devoted tutor, he realizes his potential as a student and football player.
The Social Network (2010)
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), a Harvard undergrad and computer genius, begins working on a new concept that eventually becomes Facebook, the global social network. A decade later, he becomes one of the youngest billionaires, but Zuckerberg is engulfed in two lawsuits, including one involving a former friend (Andrew Garfield). The Accidental Billionaires is based on a book of the same name.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to solve the 40-year-old murder of Vanger's niece, Harriet. The family member of Varger believes that Harriet was murdered by another family member. Blomkvist finally recruits Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), an unusual but brilliant investigator whose fragile trust is hard to earn.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The movie tells the story of Pat Solatano, a man who lost his job and wife and spent time in a mental institution. While he wants to rebuild his life and reunite with his wife, his parents would be happier if he just shared the Philadelphia Eagles' obsession with them. It gets complicated when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who offers to help him reconnect with his wife if he does something very important for her.
Les Misérables (2012)
Javert (Russell Crowe), the officer in charge of the prison workforce, frees Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) after 19 years as a prisoner. Valjean promptly breaks parole, but later uses stolen silver to reinvent himself as a factory owner and mayor. Javert promises to put him behind bars again. After the death of Cosette's mother (Anne Hathaway), Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette, but Javert's relentless pursuit of peace makes peace elusive.
Django Unchained (2012)
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is an unorthodox German bounty hunter who travels to the South on a mission to capture the vengeful Brittle brothers. Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, becomes entangled with Dr. Schultz two years before the Civil War. In completing their mission, Schultz frees Django, and together they track down the South's most wanted criminals. Their journey takes them to the infamous plantation of shady Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), where Django's long-lost wife (Kerry Washington) is still a slave.
He earns his living by writing personal letters to others. When Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) learns of a new operating system after his marriage ends, he is fascinated by its intuitiveness and uniqueness. A sensitive, playful nature is revealed in "Samantha" (Scarlett Johansson) as soon as her bright voice reveals its presence. The relationship begins as a friendship and soon develops into love.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Tarantino's Hateful Eight is his best film. During a freezing winter storm, eight curious individuals encounter a stagecoach lodge years after the end of the Civil War. The confined quarters allow these disparate personalities to talk, bicker, flirt, fight, and yell for more than two and a half hours. It's worth seeing even if you don't like the very contained film because of Ennio Morricone's Oscar-winning score.
Phantom Thread (2017)
An obsessive high-end dressmaker plays the title character in the historical drama Phantom Thread (Daniel Day-Lewis' last film role before retirement). An unfortunate series of circumstances lead him to fall in love with a young waitress who becomes his model and muse. There are complex characters who take unexpected steps to further their own desires in this strange story. It earned six Oscar nominations, and ultimately won for Costume Design, making it one of the best films of the 2010s.
Darkest Hour (2017)
A Gary Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill in the historical war drama Darkest Hour earned him his first Oscar. The movie shows how Churchill navigated the political landscape of his time, refusing to negotiate a peace treaty with the Nazis despite seemingly insurmountable odds in his early years as Prime Minister. There are two speeches in the story, the first proclaiming, "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat," and the second declaring, "We shall fight on the beaches.". The movie is well-made, and well-acted, and even though the story isn't anything groundbreaking, Gary Oldman does an excellent job portraying Churchill.
Alfonso Cuarón digs deep into his soul for this new drama in which he recreates his childhood through the eyes of a domestic worker, Cleo. While a middle-class Mexican family falls apart, Cuarón's cinematography positions the viewer as an objective observer as the family's life deteriorates. With each passing hour, these individuals' lives become increasingly heartbreaking as you, the viewer, become more and more invested in their lives. Netflix's best original film to date and its most successful at the Oscars, Roma works on any sized screen. Despite being a serious contender for Best Picture, it earned Cuaron his second Best Director award and an Oscar for Best Cinematography after he took over the director's chair himself.
Marriage Story (2019)
The story chronicles the process of divorce from separation to finalization with Adam Driver portraying the successful theater director's husband and Scarlett Johansson portraying the successful actress's wife. Due to the fact that the couple has a child, matters are further complicated, but Baumbach plays both sides of the story so that no matter your stance in the end, you feel empathy for both individuals. As Baumbach crafts full-bodied, complex characters - like actual people - Driver and Johansson give their best performances. Regarding the subject matter, Baumbach vividly illustrates how the voices of the two individuals and the love they once shared get lost during a divorce. It is both heartbreaking and deeply human.
Ten nominations were given to this film at the 93rd Academy Awards. With the use of black-and-white film, Mank creates a nuanced portrait of the screenwriter and of the period in which he lived. David Fincher's father Jack Fincher wrote the screenplay for the movie in the 90s, but it wasn't made until years after his death. Mank provides a sharp story and some brilliant performances, especially those of Gary Oldman as the lead character, making it a must-see for cinephiles.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
The Chicago of 1927. They hang out on a hot, humid summer afternoon bantering while waiting for legendary American blues singer Ma Rainey to arrive to record her most famous songs. Cutler, Slow Drag, Toledo, and Levee, chosen from among the members of her backing band, do their best to keep each other entertained during the wait. Trouble begins to brew after tempers flare and painful secrets are revealed, and the demanding diva shows up late for the session. Due to insolent ambition, self-assured arrogance, a generation gap, and black oppression, stamping Ma's expressive, emotional voice on a vinyl record was not possible. Mother of the Blues knows she's the star of the show, and she won't be pushed around. In the end, what Ma says matters most. Two of the five categories in which it was nominated for the 93rd Academy Awards were won by the film.