Netflix is a great place to catch up on some of the best of cinema you might have missed from the past. We’ve scoured some of the best Oscar movies on Netflix available for streaming right now. While there are a whole lot of films with Oscar nominations, only those that picked at least one Oscar are in this recommendation list.
Note: We’ve included only films streaming on Netflix India.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Oscar: Original Screenplay
Oh, where to begin. From the conversation about a Royale with Cheese, to the apartment shootout, to the dance at Jack Rabbit Slims, the mysterious glowing briefcase, the wallet with ‘bad motherfucker’ on it. Pulp Fiction has its own version of cool that the world accepted with no hesitation whatsoever.
From the non-linear storyline to characters like Vincent Vega, Jules Winnfield, Mia Wallace, Marsellus Wallace and Butch Coolidge, 25 years on, Pulp Fiction is still an integral part of pop culture. There was no other option to take top spot. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood can try, but Pulp Fiction takes the cake as Tarantino’s best film, and can, undoubtedly, be called one of the greatest films ever made. (By Aditya Sarma)
Recommended: 10 Worst ‘Best Picture’ Oscar Snubs Of All Time
2. Roma (2018)
Dir/writer: Alfonso Cuarón
Oscars: Director, Cinematography, Foreign Language Film
This is the story of Mexico City in the 1970s, of Cuaron’s childhood and the maid that brought him up, and the sisterhood of two women, even with the attendant hierarchy of class, who realise that they are ultimately alone in this world. Roma is an absolute classic that will grow on you. Like vine and slow time. Initially I was unnerved by its tepid pace and ultra-realistic unfolding but once you get the design, you begin to appreciate the subtle and sublime touches that draw you in. At once mellow, at once intense, it feels like real life and is languorously and aesthetically shot. (By Sanjay Trehan)
3. The Dark Knight (2008)
Dir: Christopher Nolan
Oscars: Supporting Actor (Ledger), Sound Editing
The Dark Knight not only changed the landscape of superhero movies, it is also possibly the greatest movie of the last 20 years. Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins transcended genres. Corruption has reached its peak in Gotham City and the people have been pushed to the brink by one man: The Joker.
I don’t need to tell you about Heath Ledger’s performance here, but hell, I’ll do it again. Ledger gave us the best portrayal of the character till date, as well as one of the greatest cinematic performances of all time. Period. Apart from Ledger’s borderline psychotic performance, everything else about this movie was just about perfect, from action sequences to the progressive narrative. The Dark Knight is most certainly Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus.
I find it highly unlikely that Nolan may top this one, but let’s see how Tenetis, in a year’s time. (By Aditya Sarma)
4. The Aviator (2004)
Dir: Martin Scorsese
Oscars: Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), Cinematography, Film Editing, Costume Design, and Art Direction
The second collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese produced one of DiCaprio’s finest performance. This is, once again, an examination of a person’s increasingly unstable psyche, like in Taxi Driver, except it was about real-life aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes.
The film portrays Hughes’ life between the late 1920s and late 1940s, during which time he became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate, all while constantly battling a severe case of OCD. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for DiCaprio, Best Director for Scorsese, Best Picture, as well as a win for Cate Blanchett for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. (By Aditya Sarma)
Where to Watch: Netflix
5. Babel (2006)
Dir: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Oscar: Best Original Score
Babel is an amazing psychological thriller that takes up the signature multi-narrative style of Alejandro González Iñárritu. It brings forth four seemingly unrelated narratives. But the characters who form a part of the story are connected through fateful encounters. The domino effect is strong with this one. The movie takes the lives of people who are suffering and provides its audiences with a clear picture of what life is like. We get many different angles and perspectives along with all the different problems that come with it.
The story stretches from Morocco to Mexico and from the US to Japan. Amazingly, the movie is able to demonstrate how the most futile and smallest of things can lead to nation-wide emergencies. It goes to show the threat that terrorism resonates and the fear of it that exists in the hearts and minds of civilians and world leaders alike. The complications that can occur from a boy trying out his rifle and how it can ultimately shake a nation is a groundbreaking experiment in storytelling. The depth of each narrative and the symbols like the torn red dress stand out as the prime highlights of the film. All in all, Babel was a truly experimental and successful film that moves seamlessly through various geographical as well as metaphorical topoi. (By Deepjyoti Roy)
6. Dallas Buyers Club
Dir: Jean-Marc Vallée
Oscars: Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Makeup
Matthew McConaughey dropped 40 pounds to play a Texas man diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985. Up until then, he was known as a guy who’d make sweet romcoms and possible blockbusters. Dallas Buyers Club showed the world the true extent of his acting prowess with McConaughey giving the best performance of his career till date.
He was given a measly $200,000 for his efforts, but he was willing to take the cut. He was rewarded with the Best Actor Academy Award that year. Alright, alright, alright. (By Aditya Sarma)
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7. Her (2013)
Dir: Spike Jonze
Oscar: Best Original Screenplay
Her, in one word, is extraordinary. It is an unforgettable experience that takes you through a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The bodyless love that manifests between a man and artificial intelligence is taken up to levels that should not have been possible.
Her gives us a beautiful and heart-touching look into the depth of human relationships. The movie is artistically beautiful and philosophically intriguing. Our values surrounding love are constantly questioned. We find ourselves delving deep into the meaning of humanity. We wonder whether what can be perceived and loved as a human become truly human, perhaps more human than the rest of us.
The study focuses on the growth of both characters. A growing man and an evolving AI. This movie will make you happy and hurt you bad. It is a pleasurable torture-fest on the sweet pain of love. (By Deepjyoti Roy)
8. Icarus (2017)
Dir: Bryan Fogel
Oscar: Best Documentary Feature
When a filmmaker sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a scientist transcends his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller. The distinctive execution of this film makes Icarus one of the best movies on Netflix. (By Mayank Nailwal)
9. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Dir: Guillermo Del Toro
Oscars: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup
One of the biggest ‘Best Picture’ snubs in history of Oscars is Guillermo Del Toro’s achingly mystical fantasy film. Set in the Spanish Civil War era, Pan’s Labyrinth was about a girl who discovers an underworld realm. As poetic as a ballad dance, the film embodied socio-political themes with fantastical elements. It was one-of-its-kind films that get better in every viewing. Nominated in six categories, it won three awards that year, excluding the trophy for Best Foreign Language Film. (By Mayank Nailwal)
10. The White Helmets (2016)
Dir: Orlando von Einsiedel
Oscar: Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Netflix original documentary short The White Helmets (2016), from London-based Orlando von Einsiedel does what many news reports have failed to do in the Syrian crisis. It humanizes the suffering of Syrian people, caught in a hellhole.
While the international community has largely failed the Syrians, a group of self-sacrificing men have proved that humanity isn’t wholly dead.
Known as ‘The White Helmets,’ the men of Syria Civil Defense have been pulling out thousands of people out of the rubble since 2013. A rough estimate says 60,000 civilians.
The political complexities behind-the-screen will unravel in due time. But for now, the world needs to see this harrowing documentary/short. (By Arun Kumar)
11. The Pianist (2002)
Dir: Roman Polanski
Oscars: Best Director (Roman Polanski), Best Actor (Adrien Brody), Best Adapted Screenplay
The Pianist (2002) is a profound piece of art that attempts to answer deep questions. A piano is but a lifeless instrument. It produces sounds at the command of its master. But as soon as these seemingly disjointed notes come together, they create something that is full of life. This sequence of harmonies has the capacity to present the mirror of the soul. Humanity is, indeed, a complex affair. And no other outlet is as suitable for the vivid display of human emotion as art is. And music has always been considered a high form of art.
But what happens when you are left with only that music and nothing else? Music is the food for the soul but what if there is no food for your belly? What if you are in tattered rags and your piano is no longer playable? Will your devotion and affinity to music still stay the same when your inner self has undergone such drastic change? (By Deepjyoti Roy)
Recommended: The Pianist (2002) Review: Classics Revisited #9
12. Schindler’s List (1994)
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction
The most emotionally powerful movie of Spielberg’s career, Schindler’s List follows the life of industrialist Oskar Schindler, who unwittingly decides to help Jews escape Germany during the Holocaust, unintentionally becoming a hero in the process. This time, Spielberg doesn’t manipulate anything, save for the beautiful black-and-white shots. Oskar Schindler, Aman Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) and the Jew workers are told with the utmost honesty, and it is up to the audience to judge. One of the greatest human dramas ever made, based on one of the most horrifying events in human history. This is Spielberg at his best. This is filmmaking at its best. (By Aditya Sarma)
13. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Dir: David O. Russell
Oscar: Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy-drama that focuses on two individuals, who suffer from bipolar disorders. When their lives are turned upside down, they find solace in one another and slowly grow close to each other. The movie is not only about the individuals, but also provides a universal message of breaking away the chains that tie you up and embracing that which brings joy into your life. Silver Linings Playbook successfully delivers some of the best-timed comedy lines along with a loveable romantic couple who brave the obstacles presented before them. (By Deepjyoti Roy)
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14. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)
Inglorious Basterds will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first Tarantino film I ever watched as a young, adolescent teen. At the time, it confused me when Tarantino decided to change the course of history with this movie, but today I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tarantino managed to take two of the most tragic horrifying moments in human history, World War II and the Holocaust and mould it in his own fun, bloody vision. All the props go to Christoph Waltz who stole the show with his performance of ‘The Jew Hunter’, Hans Lauda. Inglorious Basterds remains one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever watched. (By Aditya Sarma)
15. Django Unchained (2011)
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Oscar: Best Original Screenplay (Tarantino), Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)
Quentin Tarantino‘s take at a spaghetti Western yielded scintillating results, with Django Unchained winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, along with a Best Supporting Actor Award for Christoph Waltz. Django Unchained takes a look at some of the most horrifying times of American History, giving us a brutal look of slave trade going on in the 1850s.
The movie is almost 3 hours long, but you never notice as this movie keeps you hooked with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson keeping us entertained for the entire duration. (By Aditya Sarma)