It’s Oscars season, and while for movie buffs that usually spells multiple trips to the cinema, this year there’s one Best Picture nominee that you can watch from the comfort of your own home: Netflix’s Mexican drama Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, ties with period drama The Favourite for the most nominations this year (ten apiece).
So what better time than to make the most of your Netflix subscription (or friend’s/brother’s/significant other’s — there’s no judgement here), and binge on all the best Oscar-winning films the streaming service has to offer? From Lord of the Rings to Annie Hall and Bird Man, there’s something for everyone.
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Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Which Oscars did Lord of the Rings: Return of the King win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Make-up, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.
What’s Lord of the Rings: Return of the King about? The first fantasy film to win Best Picture, Peter Jackson’s Return of the King remains one of the highest-grossest films of all time, and earned rave reviews from critics. The final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it concludes Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom to return the One Ring to the flames that forged it.
Which Oscars did Schindler’s List win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction.
What’s Schindler’s List about? Steven Spielberg’s epic, black-and-white historical drama tells the real-life story of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), a german businessman who saves the lives of over a thousand Jews during the Holocaust. The film also stars Ralph Fiennes, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the monstrous SS officer Amon Göth.
Which Oscars did Rain Man win? Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role.
What’s Rain Man about? Tom Cruise plays a selfish car salesman, Charlie, whose world is turned upside down when he simultaneously discovers that his father has died, and that he has a secret brother — an autistic savant with extraordinary recall skills (played by Dustin Hoffman, who won an Oscar for the role), to whom their father has left his multimillion-dollar estate.
Bird Man or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Which Oscars did Bird Man win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.
What’s Bird Man about? The black comedy follows Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a washed-up Hollywood actor best-known for playing the superhero Bird Man back in the 1990s. As Thomson attempts to resurrect his career, he’s tormented by the voice of Bird Man in his head, and he frequently imagines himself flying.
The Silence of the Lambs
Which Oscars did The Silence of the Lambs win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
What’s The Silence of the Lambs about? Starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, this iconic horror film follows a young FBI trainee who’s forced to seek out the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, in order to hunt down a new serial killer dubbed “Buffalo Bill”, who’s targeting women and skinning them.
Which Oscars did Annie Hall win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress.
What’s Annie Hall about? Woody Allen plays Alvy, a divorced comedian who’s trying to discover why his relationship with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) ended a year ago. The film is often cited as having one of the funniest screenplays of all time, and features the now-iconic cocaine sneeze.
Kramer vs Kramer
Which Oscars did Kramer vs Kramer win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
What’s Kramer vs Kramer about? Starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep as a couple in the midst of a divorce and legal battle for custody of their small son, the 1979 film gained widespread praise for its exploration of issues like women’s rights, divorce, gender roles and single parents.
Which Oscars did Platoon win? Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound and Best Film Editing
What’s Platoon about? In this ensemble drama, Charlie Sheen plays a US Army volunteer who arrives in Vietnam, where his two sergeants (played by Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger) battle over the the platoon’s leadership.
Which Oscars did Roma win? None yet — but this Netflix drama has no less than ten Oscar nominations, and is slated to win Best Picture on the night.
What’s Roma about? Set in the early 1970s and chronicling the year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City, it stars Yalitza Aparicio in a breakout role as Cleo, one of the family’s maids.
Which Oscars did Moonstruck win? Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.
What’s Moonstruck about? Cher won Best Actress (and Nicolas Cage won best-missing-hand-scene since Tony Curtis in The Vikings) for this screwball romantic comedy film. The singer plays an Italian-American widow who decides to marry her limp boyfriend, Johnny — but must first track down his estranged brother (Cage), a one-handed baker with a thing for opera.
La La Land
Which Oscars did La La Land win? Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Production Design.
It was also part of the Best Picture gaffe back in 2017, during which La La Land was incorrectly named as the winner (it was actually Moonlight). It took the show’s producers two minutes to fix the mistake, during which almost three speeches were given from the La La Land team onstage.
What’s La La Land about? A musical romance, the film follows an aspiring actress and struggling musician, charting their relationship over a year, from their first meeting in Los Angeles. It also features a catchy soundtrack, with hits such as City of Stars and Another Day of Sun.
Which Oscars did Girl, Interrupted win? Best Supporting Actress.
What’s Girl, Interrupted about? Angelina Jolie’s Oscar winning performance as Lisa, a manipulative, charismatic sociopath and long-term resident of a psychiatric hospital, is the primary reason to watch Girl, Interrupted, but it’s also worth seeing for those enjoying a Winona Ryder renaissance post-Stranger Things.
Which Oscars did The Revenant win? Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography.
What’s The Revenant about? Based on the real-life experiences of frontiersman Hugh Glass in 1823, this bloody, brutal and pretty much relentless tale of survival features a starry cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio (who finally won an Oscar), Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter.
Which Oscars did Inception win? Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.
What’s Inception about? Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending feature about dream-thieves had a massive impact when it first premiered in 2010, and managed to get the world talking about THAT ambiguous ending…
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Which Oscars did The Grand Budapest Hotel win? Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Original Score.
What’s The Grand Budapest Hotel about? Wes Anderson’s eccentric comedy stars stars Ralph Fiennes (in a frankly genius choice of casting) as a camp concierge who is wrongly accused of murder, and must team up with his lobby boy to prove his innocence.
Good Will Hunting
Which Oscars did Good Will Hunting win? Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay.
What’s Good Will Hunting about? Written by then-unknowns Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (check out their adorable Oscar speech here), the latter stars as an undiscovered genius who assaults a police officer and is then forced to attend therapy sessions (Robin Williams plays his bereaved therapist Sean in an Oscar-winning turn) as part of a court-order.
The Big Short
Which Oscars did The Big Short win? Best Adapted Screenplay.
What’s The Big Short about? Based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, and charts the events leading up to the financial crash 2007-2008. It stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling (who also serves as narrator).
The Blind Side
Which Oscars did The Blind Side win? Best Actress.
What’s The Blind Side about? Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of a privileged mother-of-two who decides to adopt an impoverished black teenager, Michael Oher (a real-life American football player on whose story the film is based).
Which Oscars did Gravity win? Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.
What’s Gravity about? Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the latter a veteran astronaut, in this tense thriller space debris threatens a crew’s mission — and the lives of everyone inside the shuttle.
Which Oscars did Hacksaw Ridge win? Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.
What’s Hacksaw Ridge about? Mel Gibson’s biographical war drama focuses on the real-life experiences of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), a World War Two combat medic who refused to bear arms due to his pacifism, and who rescued 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge.
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