Due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s been a while since most of us have gone to see a movie in theaters. Luckily, Netflix offers cinephiles a way to indulge anywhere, anytime. And with the 93rd Academy Awards fast approaching, now is a good time to take a deep dive into Netflix’s extensive library of critically acclaimed films. Several Oscar winners are still part of the Netflix collection and there’s no better way to prep for the prestigious awards show than watching a few of the previous Best Picture winners—and other Oscar-winning standouts over the years.
The Godfather Trilogy (1972, 1974, 1990)
- The Godfather: Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Godfather Part II: Best Picture, Best Actor (Al Pacino), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Production Design
Few films reach the pantheon of masterpieces that The Godfather trilogy occupies. For movie buffs, Francis Ford Coppola’s family crime saga is absolutely a must-watch, truly among the greatest films ever made. A good movie, The Godfather Part III isn’t quite on the same level as the first two—it didn’t win a single Oscar—but it’s still worth seeing as the swan song of an iconic trilogy.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Oscars Won: Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Kramer vs. Kramer won nearly every major award in the 1980 Academy Awards—that alone tells you just how good the film is and how well-received it was at the time of its release. The tear-jerking drama is an unflinching look at the dissolution of a family and the struggles of a custody battle, a tale that resonates just as well now as it did in the 80s. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the more recent Marriage Story (also on Netflix), which earned a bevy of Oscar nominations and a win of Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern. Watch now.
Oscars Won: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Sound Editing
Love historical epics? Braveheart is the piece de resistance of Mel Gibson, who was director, co-producer, and star of this film. Plus, Gibson’s stirring speech as William Wallace riling up the Scottish troops is always a great listen if you require adrenaline-fueled motivation. Watch now.
American Beauty (1999)
Oscars Won: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay
Saddled with an unfulfilling job and family life, a depressed executive finds himself obsessed with his high school daughter’s friend. While the debut film of director Sam Mendes feels a bit dated in 2021, the snappy suburban black dramedy can be a breezy, fun watch with sarcastic dialogue and fantastic performances. Watch now.
Green Book (2018)
Oscars Won: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay
Based on a true story, Green Book follows world-class pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his driver Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as they navigate the racially segregated south. The odd couple film is a crowd-pleaser with a brilliant pair of actors at the helm, although it has received its fair share of criticism for its simplistic and feel-good take on issues of racism. Watch now.
La La Land (2016)
Oscars Won: Best Director, Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Cinematography, Best Original Score
If you’re craving a heartbreakingly sweet love story to get you in the mood for the Oscars, La La Land is a good choice. With just the right amount of romance, drama, comedy, and music, the movie follows a charming couple (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) who fall in love in modern-day Los Angeles. Watch now.
Oscars Won: Best Cinematography, Best International Feature, Best Directing
Roma is a loving tribute from cinematic master Alfonso Cuarón to the woman who helped raise him. The deeply personal film tells a relatively simple story of domestic worker Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) and the family that employs her as they all deal with unexpected blows to their personal lives. Watch now.
It’s also worth watching the current Oscar nominees ahead of the show. Two of the Best Picture nominees for the 2021 Academy Awards are on Netflix: Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Both should be on your must-watch list, along with the nominees in other Oscar categories:
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling)
- Pieces of a Woman (Best Actress)
- Hillbilly Elegy (Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup and Hairstyling)
- Crip Camp (Best Documentary)
- My Octopus Teacher (Best Documentary)
- A Love Song for Latasha (Best Documentary Short Subject)
- Over the Moon (Best Animated Feature Film)
- If Anything Happens I Love You (Best Animated Short Film)
- The Midnight Sky (Best Visual Effects)
- The White Tiger (Best Adapted Screenplay)
- Da 5 Bloods (Best Original Score)
- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Best Original Song)
- The Life Ahead (Best Song)
Ready? Settle in with a refreshing drink—like Miss B’s homemade soy-based milk chocolate drink—and have fun indulging in your inner filmaholic. Then, tune in to the 93rd Academy Awards on April 26, 8 a.m. PHT. Happy watching!
*Featured images via Netflix