If, like the incomparable Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek, your favorite season is awards season (sorry PSLs), then follow me as we dive into all of the Oscar-winning films streaming on Netflix that you can watch right now. There are so many winners on the streaming service…it’s kind of like they have really good taste over there! Pop some corn and settle in because this is quite the list.
Of course, some winners have yet to be decided. The 2020 Academy Award nominees on Netflix right now include Marriage Story, The Two Popes, The Irishman, and I Lost My Body. Time will tell if they get to join this illustrious list. In addition, there are some incredible films like The Talented Mr. Ripley, Up in the Air, and Twentieth Century Women that were totally snubbed and never won any Academy Awards despite having several nominations. There are always hidden gems to be found on Netflix and puh-lenty of reasons to get mad about snubs and losers.
But I’m all about the winners today, whether they took home the statue for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, or even Visual Effects — here’s what you can watch right the eff now.
2017’s Best Picture winner, which also won Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay, will break your heart and warm it back up again. Don’t let the infamous La La Land mix-up distract you from how beautiful this film is.
If you’re the type of person who is salty about 1917’s success because Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk exists, maybe this is the film for you. The mind-bending caper won four technical Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography. BWWWOOOMMMM!!!!
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers & Return Of The King
I’m putting these two films together, even though only Return of the King won Best Picture. The Two Towers‘ Visual Effects and Sound Editing Oscar wins are nothing to scoff at. If you’re the type of person who was annoyed at how quickly they defeated the Night King on the final season of Game of Thrones, watch the final two thirds of this saga that really draws out the action. Plus, they’ve got Orlando Bloom retroactively lookin’ like The Witcher. Need I say more?
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
2019’s Best Animated Feature winner took all of your “Ugh, another Spider-Man?!” jokes and turned them into a masterpiece. Shameik Moore plays Miles Morales, who gets bit by a radioactive spider. It’s a tale as old as time until a whole bunch of other Spider-people (and a Spider-ham) show up and everything turns inside out. Oh, and, prepare to be broken by Jake Johnson’s depressed Dad bod Peter Parker. It’s a whole thing.
Every single person out there saying that Joker‘s Oscar buzz will legitimize comic book movies can suck an egg because Black Panther was a Best Picture nominee too and won Best Score, Costume Design, and Production Design literally a year ago. (Also, let me remind you that Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for The Dark Knight.) Before Netflix hands Marvel movies over to Disney+, be sure to revisit Wakanda and this stunning, hilarious, action-packed film.
The Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the wife of the first transgender woman to undergo male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery, played by Eddie Redmayne. Her costar was also nominated, but Redmayne’s only win came the year before when he played Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything (see below).
The Theory of Everything
Before they set out to prove whether or not women belong in balloons in The Aeronauts, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones fell in love onscreen in this 2014 film. As I just mentioned, Redmayne won Best Actor for his performance. Oscar loves a biopic.
Fair warning: This movie is responsible for my existential crisis, but I do watch that one clip of Oscar Isaac dancing, like, a lot. Alex Garland’s film about a man who low-key falls in love with a robot only won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars. But while Alicia Vikander ultimately won that year for The Danish Girl it’s hard to believe that Ex Machina had nothing to do with it.
Hey look, another Oscar winner about a sad man who wants to f*ck a computer instead of a real girl. Are men OK? This is Spike Jonze’s only Academy Award, and while he is primarily a director, this win was for Screenwriting.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Take a break from all this serious Oscar bait and watch a technical winner (Sound, Editing, Visual Effects, Art Direction) because you deserve some ‘80s Harrison Ford in your life. Indiana Jones playing a university professor with glasses who moonlit as a rugged adventurer with a whip and fedora was the original, “get you a man who can do both.” Plus, a lot of Nazi art thieves get their faces melted off in this movie — fun!
The dream of the ’90s is alive on Netflix. At the Oscars, the Wachowski siblings’ breakout hit won four of the technical awards. Wouldn’t it be kind of a relief to learn that our garbage fire reality was actually a computer program? I could use a reboot myself.
The King’s Speech
If you’re sad about The Crown ending after Season 5, this unofficial prequel is the Oscar winner for you. Speaking of The Crown, Helena Bonham-Carter plays the mother of the character she would later play on the Netflix series in this film. The King’s Speech, which is all about Queen Elizabeth II’s father King George VI, cleaned up at the Academy Awards with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor.
There aren’t too many older films on Netflix these days. Real talk, when I went to look at the “classics” tag and saw Back To The Future there, I had to close my laptop and walk around the block to cool down. But this 1968 film, which won Ruth Gordon the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, is absolutely worth streaming!
Eleven years before Guillermo del Toro won Best Picture and Best Director for The Shape of Water, his Spanish language fantasy won awards for Cinematography, Art Direction, and Makeup.
Wanna watch a Scorcese film that’s approximately half as long as The Irishman? (I’m just kidding; at 151 minutes The Departed is “only” an hour shorter.) This Best Picture winner also took home trophies for Editing, Adapted Screenplay, and Directing.
Before Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood Tarantino smashed up World War II history with this Oscar winner. Both films happen to star Brad Pitt in a comedic role, too. Inglourious Basterds’ only award went to Christoph Waltz, who won literally two years later for another Tarantino film, Django Unchained. It’s all connected.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee’s Best Foreign Language Film winner also won Oscars for Cinematography, Score, and Art Direction. The martial arts sequences in this 2000 are legendary. Michelle Yeoh, who starred in the film, recently blew us all away as Henry Golding’s imposing mother in Crazy Rich Asians — so it’s absolutely worth going back to watch her earlier work.
Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 film tied the record set by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for most nominations from a non-English language film at the Oscars. Roma also won Best Foreign Language Film, and Cuarón won both Best Director and Best Cinematography. Don’t you kind of feel like this should have won “regular” Best Picture instead of Green Book? Watch it and get back to me.
Dallas Buyers Club
Director Jean-Marc Vallée went on to become the man behind HBO’s best complicated women with both Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects. But this film’s particular Oscar wins went to the performances. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. The film tells the true story of folk hero Ron Woodruff, who distributed AIDS medication in 1985 via an underground network.
Jonathan Demme’s courtroom drama won Tom Hanks his first Oscar for Best Actor. The other winner? Oh, just famous New Jerseyan Bruce Spingsteen, for his original song “Streets of Philadelphia.” How random is that?!
As Good As It Gets
Another double acting winner, both Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won for As Good As It Gets. The film is something of a romantic comedy, and it’s honestly pretty rare that a romantic comedy makes it that far in Oscar season. Let’s change that, shall we?
Another trend that Hollywood needs to change is awarding straight actors who take on LGBT roles — the last four films in this list are examples of this, for better or for worse, and they aren’t the only ones. Billy Porter called out this double standard recently. Nevertheless, Sean Penn’s performance as Harvey Milk did win Best Actor, and it’s a good historical drama to check out on Netflix.
I know this film came out in 2008, but someone please free Kiera Knightley from corsets. Just because The Duchess won an Oscar for Best Costumes doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to escape period pieces. Still, all the palace intrigue in The Duchess is perfect for a night in.
Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln and he did win an Oscar. Seriously, it looks like the makeup department used a penny as a guide, it’s that uncanny. The epic biopic has tons of other famous faces, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Field and even Adam Driver!
This film, which stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, weaves together four stories around a central conflict. It was snubbed in a lot of its nominated categories, including Best Director for Alejandro González Iñárritu, but did win Best Score. Iñárritu went on to win a slew of Oscars for both The Revenant and Birdman, so it’s all good.
I’m not sure I can handle the stress or the thrill of watching Room again, but I’m glad I did the first time. Brie Larson’s Best Actress win is so deserved, and this film also gifted us with Hollywood’s number one boy Jacob Trembley.
The Hateful Eight
This might not be everyone’s favorite Tarantino film, despite Channing Tatum’s appearance, but it did mark Ennio Morricone’s only ever competitive Oscar win for Best Original Score. For ages, Morricone was the Leo DiCaprio of composing. He’d been nominated five times before, and the Academy ended up giving him an honorary award in 2007. You absolutely love to see it.
This one is more than a little awkward in 2020, given the Kevin Spacey of it all. But if you’re okay to watch it and want to know why all film nerds who grew up in the ’90s are so
annoying introspective, this might be a good place to start. Sam Mendes, who is nominated this year as well, won for Best Director. American Beauty did win Best Picture, too, so NBD.
While we’re on the subject of Best Picture winners that don’t hold up years later, I’ll literally never get over the fact that this won over Brokeback Mountain. Never! Crash may have additionally won Editing and Screenplay, but I’ll only ever remember how traumatized I was by like three different scenes.
It doesn’t seem fair that Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for this movie and not for Carol, but at least she has the statue. I’ll be honest: I never saw Blue Jasmine because I was over Woody Allen and the trailer made it look like a ripoff of Streetcar Named Desire. So who am I to judge?
The final recent winner on this list is actually 2018’s Best Documentary Feature winner. What started out as a simple investigation into athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs became weirdly dramatic and dangerous. The stakes are way higher than you can imagine.
Hustle and Flow
Where were you the day that Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a day that will live in infamy? It’s too bad that Hustle and Flow didn’t get any more Oscars, despite its awards attention. At least Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson got to take their on-screen chemistry to Empire a full 10 years later.
Another rare classic on Netflix, -ish, since it was released in 1980. It’s also another Scorcese film. Do yourself a favor and check out what Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci actually looked like when they were in their early 40s before you watch the CGI-enhanced version of that in The Irishman.
The Crying Game
This Best Screenplay winner stars Miranda Richardson and Forest Whitaker. It’s a very ’90s thriller about a British soldier who is captured by the Irish Republican Army and starts to get entangled in the lives of his captors. It ended up having way more critical success in the UK.
The Lives of Others
This film, which won Best Foreign Language Film in 2007, is about a member of the secret police in East Berlin who starts running surveillance on a couple and gets way too invested in their romantic drama. Were I to remake this film in 2020, it would be about me figuring out who my friends are dating by creeping on their Venmo accounts.
Wait, I finally found the oldest Oscar-winning film on Netflix, a classic that’s not from the ’80s. John Wayne won Best Actor for this Western in 1970. While Wayne is a legend too all those who yee and haw, True Grit was his only Oscar.
E.M. Forester’s novel was adapted into a mini-series in 2017 and re-imagined in Matthew Lopez’s epic stage play The Inheritance in 2018, but you can’t beat the sweeping 1992 romantic drama. Emma Thompson won Best Actress for her performance, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won Best Adapted Screenplay. While director James Ivory did not win that year, he finally took home an Oscar for adapting Call Me By Your Name.
Another Best Documentary Feature winner, this last entry belongs to Amy Winehouse. I know the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana like just dropped on Netflix, but you have to pay respect. Do you ever think about how she recorded a song with Tony Bennett and in an alternate universe could have been the one to tour with him instead of Lady Gaga? Just me?