By Vishal Sangwan
And the Oscar goes to…
Been browsing Netflix only to end up watching a re-run of Friends? Here’s a list of movies that were nominated for Best Picture Oscar that you must watch on Netflix.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Leonardo DiCapprio and Martin Scorcesse’s 5th movie together is based on Jordan Belfort’s autobiography of the same name. Leo plays Jordan, a stockbroker who goes on to start his own company and frauds his way up. It showcases the life at Wall Street in the late 80s and glamorizes sex, drugs and partying.
Lord of the Rings (2001,2002,2003)
Peter Jackson’s on screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy-fiction was one of the most ambitious project. The films showcase the journey of a hobbit and his friends in a quest to destroy a ring. While the 3 movies were nominated in their respective years, it was The Return of The King, which finally bagged the award for best picture. Collectively, the trilogy got a whopping 17 Oscars.
Lost in translation (2003)
Bob (Bill Murray) is an aging actor, who is in Japan to shoot an advertisement where he encounters Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a college graduate married to a celebrity photographer. They develop a friendship as the nights pass and share intimate details of their relationships. The movie is beautiful for its simplicity backed up with stellar performances from ScarJo and Bill Murray.
A young drummer enrolls in a prestigious jazz school where he is trained by a legendary but abusive teacher. The teacher’s methods are harsh and push the young drummer beyond limits. The movie keeps getting intense just like the jazz routine ‘whiplash’ and was one of the front runners at the Oscars.
Coming to the movie that edged whiplash out, Birdman is the story of a has-been actor, who is haunted by one of his past roles as a superhero, Birdman. He feels continually criticized by Birdman, as he tries to revive his career by putting together a Broadway production. The movie appears to be filmed in a single shot and other than winning the Best Picture, it also bagged the Oscar for best cinematography.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Considered one of Stanley Kubrick’s finest work, the theme to A Clockwork Orange is the freedom to choose good or evil is as a fundamental right. It’s the story of Alex, a despicable delinquent, who volunteers for experimental therapy for a reduced prison sentence which goes sideways. The 1971 movie still feels ahead of time and is perhaps one of the most important movies ever made.
2nd of Russell Crowe’s 3 back to back Oscar nominations, Gladiator is a historical drama about a jealous prince, who upon becoming king sentences one of his father’s most loyal men, Maximus, to death. It’s a truly gripping story of Maximus’ vengeance and has a similar feeling to that of ‘Braveheart’. Much like Braveheart, Gladiator also went on to win the Oscar.
Juno is the story of a teen who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption instead of going for an abortion. It shows Juno’s struggles through pregnancy as a school going girl as well as how she feels towards the baby’s father. Juno is a liberating take on teen pregnancies.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
“I think this might just be my masterpiece”, the final quote from the movie. It might be what Tarantino wants to say to the audience about his movie as he rewrites the events of world war II. The movie starts with one of the most gripping opening scenes in the history of cinema, which is just an intense conversation over a glass of milk which is followed by some masterful storytelling.
Django unchained (2012)
Tarantino’s follow-up movie, a western about slavery in America was surrounded by controversy for multiple reason from its excessive use of the N-word to the scenes that involved Kerry Washington taking lashings. Django is a slave who is offered his freedom by Dr. Schultz in exchange for helping him find the Brittle brothers. Tarantino, in an interview, said how he wanted to give the African-Americans a hero and he did just that with movie.
12 years a slave (2013)
Just like Django Unchained, 12 years a slave was also nominated for Best picture at the Oscars but unlike Django Unchained, it went on to win it. It is the story of Solomon, a free African-American, is brought to Washington DC under the impression of a short term employment opportunity but is instead sold into slavery. The movie, as the name suggests, is a story of a free man’s painful 12 years spent in slavery.
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982)
The OG Jadoo, E.T. is easily Steven Spielberg’s best sci-fi creation. The movie explores a theme of an unusual friendship. It was a massive success both critically as well as commercially. It held the then record of highest grossing movie of all time.
The story of a 12 year old Hugo Cabret’s hard-knock-life, he’s orphaned, works on clocks, lives at the train station among other hardships. It’s Martin Scorsese’s most family-friendly movie, in fact, many dubbed it as a children’s movie but it’s much more than that. Sure, it’s about the boy’s efforts of repairing a robot but it’s deeper in how the boy believes it is his purpose in life. The movie talks about the history of cinema and its preservation. A movie that in itself needs to be preserved, Hugo is a great watch with the whole family.
Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely man who finds a companion in an Artificial Intelligence system. Soon, he is unable to tell it from a person and falls in love with it. It’s a beautiful movie about a very unorthodox relationship that makes you question what is love and the nature of what it means to be human.
Christopher Nolan’s, world-war II masterpiece is one to be enjoyed without any intervals. Nolan’s evolution as a director is on full display as he depicts the evacuation from all aspects: air, water and land. The movie, supported with amazing soundtrack from Hans Zimmer, hardly has dialogues and yet is one of director’s finest works.
While there’s a plethora of movies to watch on Netflix , these are some of the best it has to offer. So binge away!