From Dune (2021) to Forrest Gump (1994), here are the best Oscar-winning movies on Amazon Prime as of January 2024.
The Academy Awards celebrate films for their outstanding achievement, honoring the best and brightest, across various categories every year. Over the years, countless iconic movies have taken home the coveted golden statuette, and many of these award-winning films are now available to stream on Amazon Prime. Whether you’re a cinephile or just looking for something to watch on a lazy Sunday, we have you covered. From timeless classics like The Godfather (1972) to modern masterpieces like Moonlight, below are some of the best Oscar-winning movies streaming on Amazon Prime.
These films represent some of the finest achievements in filmmaking, offering a glimpse into the history and evolution of the industry. So sit back and get ready to enjoy some of the best films that the Oscars have recognized. From gripping dramas to heartwarming tales, there’s something for everyone on this list. Note: these films are streaming as of January 6, 2024 and are listed in no particular order:
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Oscar-winning Movies on Amazon Prime
1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
One of the Hollywood’s great directors Steven Spielberg and greatest actors, Tom Hanks, make an astounding pair. This partnership was at its peak with Saving Private Ryan, and gave us one of the best war films ever made. His first war film after the legendary Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan was a full-on battle right from the start. It took us to the very heart of World War II, and its most famous event, the Normandy Invasion.
That opening battle sequence will remain one of the finest scenes in all of cinema. It is truly a sight to see, and it is Steven Spielberg at his finest. In a tragic quest to track down the last surviving brother in a family of soldiers, Tom Hanks and his squad take us through the tolls and spoils of war, and how it affects the human mind. Baffling, how it didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar that year.
5 Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing
2. Dune (2021)
A welcome relief from the tiring superhero movies, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune successfully realizes the epic scale of author Frank Herbert’s vision. This is the planned two-part adaptation of Herbert’s first book in the Dune series. The film’s sprawling space opera narrative largely revolves around Paul, the gifted heir of House Atreides.
Villeneuve’s slow-burn narrative brilliantly sets up the Shakespearean tale of power and betrayal. Though there aren’t many surprises in the narrative, the grandeur and attention to detail makes it an enthralling experience. Like in Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve delivers a satisfying spectacle without following the conventions of modern-day Hollywood features.
6 Oscars: Cinematography, Editing, Score, Visual effects, Production design and Sound.
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3. Drive My Car (2021)
Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami short story is a brilliantly layered take on grief, loss, and guilt. The film revolves around renowned stage actor and playwright Yusuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima). Oto, his wife of 20 years, is a screenwriter for television. Though they clearly love each other, secrecy haunts their relationship. When Oto passes away due to cerebral hemorrhage, Yusuke is deeply troubled by the things he left unsaid.
Drive My Car moves at a leisurely pace, but gets increasingly complex with each emotional revelation. The film premiered at Cannes last year where it won the Best Screenplay award. But its most prestigious win came with the coveted Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2022.
Oscar: Best International Feature Film
4. Minari (2020)
A Sundance winner, Minari follows a Korean American family in 1980s America who move from California to an Arkansas farm in search of their American dreams. A classic immigrant story but with unique details and characters, Minari is an autobiographical drama by Lee Isaac Chung portraying cultural decisions that the family must make to assimilate while staying true to their own culture.
Watch Minari on Amazon Prime
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress
5. Another Round (2020)
Four high school teachers embark on a quest to find out how the daily consumption of alcohol affects their life. Selected as Denmark’s entry to the 93rd Academy Awards for the best international feature film, Another Round goes deeper than just being a film about ensuing incidents from an enjoyable social experiment, to hold up a mirror to an existing binge drinking culture that is often encouraged under the pretext of fun. As the characters push their experiment to their limits, underlying tensions simmer, leading them to make a choice between continuing down the same path or dealing with their actions.
Oscar: Best International Feature Film
6. Parasite (2019)
Bong Joon-ho’s social satire tells a timeless tale about the haves and the have-nots. But the brilliance lies in the layers of fascinating details that offer a unique viewing experience. The narrative is centered on two nuclear families in Seoul, one poor and another rich. The poor Kim family cons their way to work for the wealthy Park family. The horrors of economic disparity wreak havoc on both the families. Parasite largely unfolds in grey zones without assigning blame to a particular class. It shows how antipathy is rooted in both sides and the villain here is the stratified system.
Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime
4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film
7. The Hurt Locker (2008)
One of the best war films ever made, The Hurt Locker takes a close look at the life of a young soldier who disposes of bombs — a job which people rarely survive. The sheer intensity of the film is such that the audience feels like they are in the battlefield right alongside Jeremy Renner, hoping to God that he wouldn’t accidentally snag a trip wire. This is one you don’t want to miss out on. The movie bores into your very being and draws you in. The tension feels real enough to make your nerves go haywire. Emotional subtlety is achieved through some of the best performances ever given in a war movie.
6 Oscars: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
8. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Coen Brothers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel is set in early 1980s West Texas. A local man discovers bodies strewn across the desert due to a botched drug deal. He also finds a bag full of money and decides to escape with it. But the cartel sends a psychopathic hit-man to fetch the money. Anton Chigurh can kill anyone for the sake of thrill and pleasure.
No Country for Old Men features a terrifying series of violent acts. Apart from the brutal multiple murders on-screen, Coen Brothers’ deliberate slow-pace maintains tension throughout. And, the violent acts offer no catharsis to viewers.
4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
9. Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a thief who uses a one-of-a-kind modern contraption to steal valuable ideas from people’s minds. A risky mission from an esteemed client forces him to bring back the entire gang for one last heist. The proposition is to plant an idea instead of stealing it. This would require them to delve deeper into the dark corners of the brain. One wrong move and they could be trapped in limbo forever. With all those risks, can Leo’s team power through the task? Will they make it out in one piece?
Inception’s the kind of movie that manages to surprise you with a new angle every time you watch it. Even if you did know every single detail of the plot, Christopher Nolan still has something up his sleeve to blow your mind away. Watch it for the superlative acting and the ingenious screenplay.
4 Oscars: Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
10. Forrest Gump (1994)
In the hands of another actor, Forrest Gump could have easily become a caricature. Hanks turns Gump, a pure simple man with a below average IQ, into an utterly charming real person. Robert Zemeckis’ movie tracks down the life journey of an innocent guy, set against the backdrop of America’s turbulent history. In spite of the meandering and slightly mawkish narrative, the film stands out due to Hanks’ sincere portrayal of the titular character.
He doesn’t try to extract lewd humor from the character’s intellectual deficits. He rather subtly conveys the inner reality and emotions of the character. When I first watched the film, there were several moments that made me cry. The three unforgettable ones among the tear-inducing sequences: Gump’s monologue, Bubba’s death, and the reaction Gump shows after realizing that he has a son.
6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing.
11. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Fellowship of the Ring opened to rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike. Back in 2001, the special effects were revolutionary, so don’t come to me with “The effects are too campy”. What made this movie so special wasn’t (just) the effects. The movie had a heart, soul and emotion. A decade and a half later, the movies have aged like the fine Elvish wine from the gardens of Dorwinion.
The entire trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) earned a total of $3 billion in box office sales. The films eventually earned a collective 17 Academy Awards, with the Return of the King picking up an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
The Return of the King, in particular, set numerous records at the Oscars.
12. The Godfather (1972)
When director Francis Ford Coppola wanted Al Pacino to play the role of Michael Corleone in the seminal gangster epic The Godfather, the studio executives were appalled. They wanted a young star like Robert Redford or Jack Nicholson or Warren Beatty.
Film historians have often pointed to studio executives’ opinion of Coppola being a little ‘mad,’ for casting a ‘kid’ aka ‘that midget’ to do a fiery role. But the actor who had only two movie acting credits to his list undertook the role with formidable strength. (Initially, Al too thought he wasn’t right for the role). The rest is history.
3 Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Actor
13. The Godfather II (1974)
The Godfather II was Michael Corleone’s story. It depicts how he falls from grace and realizes that he is alone in the world. The heartbreaking betrayals and menace corresponds to Michael’s embrace of the dark side. The film has the earlier instance of the famous Al Pacino ‘explosion’ – when Michael kisses Fredo and later shouts at Kay. But the true greatness of the performance lies in the quiet, subtle moments, as the unexpressed fury depraves his moral balance.
He is at once restrained and also subtly suggesting the rage and unbridled passion lying deep within. Even though I have seen the film numerous times, the final scene makes my hair stand on end.
Watch The Godfather II
6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Original Music Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design
14. Moonlight (2016)
It’s hard to put down in words what I felt after watching this one. Berry Jenkins’ Moonlight is an experience. It’s a groundbreaking film that amazingly gets under your skin and never lets go. From the first scene to last, it stays raw and thoughtful. The director encapsulates several socially verboten issues through the story of its protagonist in three acts, with each act depicting different stages of his life.
Jenkins coherently infuses themes of drugs, poverty, racism and intolerance in the core plot of self-discovery and sexual identity. It isn’t necessary for a person to be gay to fully relate to the proceedings as the story is well told. And this is the filmmaker’s biggest achievement. One can easily see the world through Chiron’s eyes and comprehend the fight that is to overcome insurmountable hurdles in life.
3 Oscars: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), Best Adapted Screenplay
15. Gravity (2013)
Gravity follows American astronauts stranded in space after the mid-orbit destruction of their Space Shuttle, and their brave attempt to return to Earth. It won 7 Academy Awards including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. Like Interstellar, Gravity also explores themes of grief and emotional detachment while out in the cold depths of space. I still vividly remember being awe-struck by the visuals. It was a technically dazzling production that had me at the edge of my seat during the nail-biting final act.
Watch Gravity on Amazon Prime
6 Oscars: Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing
16. Interstellar (2014)
Set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, the film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for mankind. Visually breathtaking and conceptually audacious, Interstellar was a spectacle that needed to be seen on the biggest screen. Despite the myriad of scientific concepts, I loved that the film had a strong emotional core. Its overriding message about love — a powerful force that cannot be quantified in scientific terms struck a chord with me. [Related: 7 Movies Like Interstellar That Should Be On Your Watchlist]
Oscar: Best Visual Effects
(Additional writing by Arun Kumar, Mansi Dutta)