Few nights in Hollywood’s calendar year come close to the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards. An Oscar statuette is a crowning achievement for anyone involved in the production of film, and those who garner one or more of the gold figurines win the right to label themselves an Academy Award–winning “insert title here” for the rest of history. Plus, there’s the career boost that comes with it.
As the race heats up for the 95th Academy Awards, taking place on March 12, let’s look at some of the more memorable past winners in various categories, or at least the ones currently streaming on Netflix (in no particular order).
1. La La Land
Credit: Summit Entertainment
Won: Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Production Design, Best Director (Damien Chazelle), and Best Actress (Emma Stone) at the 89th Academy Awards
Want something whimsical and wildly acclaimed? Then how about the six-time Oscar-winning musical La La Land. Academy Award-winner Emma Stone stars as an aspiring actress who’s seeking fame but finds love when she crosses paths with a dashing piano player (Ryan Gosling). Director Damien Chazelle won an Oscar for helming this lively love letter to Los Angeles (that was before his Babylon aimed to burn it all down!). Romance gives way to song, dance, and a bit of fantasy in this colorful and enchanting tale of dreamers.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: La La Land is streaming on Netflix.
2. Brokeback Mountain
Credit: Focus / Kobal / Shutterstock
Won: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Director (Ang Lee) at the 78th Academy Awards
Not every love story can have a happy ending. But there’s something to savor in those breakup movies we wish we could quit. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as two cowboys who fall hard for each other while out in the wilderness on a shepherding job. But when they return to a world defined by staunch gender roles, toxic masculinity, and homophobia, they are forced to make impossible, all-too-common decisions. Brokeback Mountain is a riveting drama about forbidden love, grounded by three Academy Award-nominated performances (Ledger, Gyllenhaal, and Michelle Williams — though Anne Hathaway was deserving too!) Painted in beauty and pain, it’s little wonder this one won Ang Lee the Oscar for Best Directing.* — K.P.
How to watch: Brokeback Mountain is streaming on Netflix.
3. Les Misérables
Credit: Working Title Films / Kobal / Shutterstock
Won: Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) at the 85th Academy Awards
Les Misérables is a timeless musical that’s gripped the hearts of many for decades, and its Academy Award–winning film is no anomaly. The tragic epic follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict trying to build a new life in a 19th-century, revolution-swept France. As young idealists fight on the barracks for a better tomorrow, Valjean tries to find his own change by giving as much of the world as he can to his adopted daughter, Cozette (Amanda Seyfried). With a beautiful music score and tearjerking performances from a star-studded cast including Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables is a tragic tale of hope, reckless optimism, and the beauty of living for just “One Day More.” — Yasmeen Hamadeh, Entertainment Intern
How to watch: Les Misérables is streaming on Netflix.
4. Forrest Gump
Credit: Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock
Won: Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Actor (Tom Hanks) at the 67th Academy Awards
If you still haven’t seen Forrest Gump, what rock are you living under? The legendary film is a guaranteed staple on every film class syllabus and for good reason. Forrest Gump kicks off with our protagonist (played by Tom Hanks) sitting on a bus stop bench and recounting his entire life to a stranger. We see Forrest grow up as a kid in Alabama, his young adult years serving in Vietnam, and his serendipitous success with a familiar shrimp company you might have heard of. As Forrest meanders through the world, pursuing his childhood sweetheart Jenny (Robin Wright), we’re left with a profound portrait of where life can take us if we’re all just a little bit kinder to each other and hell-bent on doing the right thing. — Y.H.
How to watch: Forrest Gump is streaming on Netflix.
5. Call Me by Your Name
Credit: Courtesy Of Sundance Institute
Won: Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards
As Mashable’s former TV Editor Laura Prudom puts it: “Call Me by Your Name will make you believe in love again.” The film follows Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) as they fall in love over the course of a summer in 1983 Italy. From its orchestral soundtrack to its sun-drenched visuals, Call Me by Your Name feels more like a moving painting than it does a film. As it oozes with beautiful melodrama, the film grips your heart and rips it to absolute shreds, with one particular scene (courtesy of Chalamet) bound to linger on your heart long after the credits finish rolling. — Y.H.
How to watch: Call Me by Your Name is streaming on Netflix.
6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Credit: New Line / Kobal / Shutterstock
Won: Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects at the 74th Academy Awards. Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects at the 75th Academy Awards. Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Director (Peter Jackson) at the 76th Academy Awards
I don’t know what more praise I can sing about The Lord of the Rings trilogy that hasn’t already been sung. An epic trifecta that’ll grip you every step of the way, The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of storytelling and fantasy. Following a young hobbit called Frodo (Elijah Woods) as he tries to save the world, The Lord of the Rings takes you on an adventure that’s filled with as much heart as thrill. The third installment in its franchise, The Return of the King, did a full Oscars sweep at the 76th Academy Award, which is no surprise when you watch it. So buckle up for that nine-hour marathon, it’s worth every second. — Y.H.
How to watch: The Lord of the Rings is streaming on Netflix.
7. My Octopus Teacher
Won: Best Documentary Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards
My Octopus Teacher may have a title that’ll raise some eyebrows, but there’s a more profound story of unexpected friendship waiting to surprise you. The documentary follows Craig Foster, a free diver who befriends a young octopus living in a bay near Cape Town, South Africa. We watch this young octopus grow fond of Foster as she plays around with him and invites him into her world. It’s a gripping story of our relationship with nature and the lessons waiting to be learned from our many beautiful animal friends. — Y.H.
How to watch: My Octopus Teacher is streaming on Netflix.
Credit: Carlos Somonte / Netflix
Won: Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography at the 91st Academy Awards
Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning drama follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a housekeeper working for a wealthy family in Mexico City. Thanks to Cuarón’s writing, direction, and cinematography (each of which garnered its own respective Oscar), the film is remarkably immersive, enveloping us in Cleo’s world in a way most movies strive for and can never even touch. We feel the comfort in her mundane day-to-day, the sting of her boyfriend’s betrayal, and blinding panic and trauma in the film’s final act. It’s a stunning piece of cinema that should be talked about for decades to come. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Roma is streaming on Netflix.
9. American Factory
Credit: Aubrey Keith / Netflix
Won: Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards
This 2020 Best Documentary Feature winner takes viewers inside a shuttered General Motors factory in Ohio, recently purchased and re-staffed by a Chinese billionaire, for a stunning look at worker exploitation in the modern age. A complex presentation of multiculturalism and its impacts on the global economy, American Factory is an uncomfortable watch that remains steadfastly objective from start to end but still manages to make its point. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: American Factory is streaming on Netflix.
10. Marriage Story
Credit: Wilson Webb / Netflix
Won: Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern) at the 92nd Academy Awards
Writer-director Noah Baumbach’s tense tale of a couple ending their marriage divided audiences, with some viewers reporting they were surprised by whose “side” they ended up on. But critical reception for the film was almost universal in its praise of the story’s execution and impact, with leads Scarlett Johannson and Adam Driver singled out for their magnetic scene work.
At the 92nd Academy Awards, Marriage Story took home only one Oscar from the six categories in which it was nominated. Still, this artful depiction of intimacy remains a triumph of romantic storytelling, venturing far beyond the Happily Ever After audiences know so well. — A.F.
How to watch: Marriage Story is streaming on Netflix.
11. Darkest Hour
Credit: Focus Features
Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Actor (Gary Oldman) at the 90th Academy Awards
Set in the early years of World War II, Darkest Hour follows Winston Churchill (remarkably played by Gary Oldman) as he navigates Britain’s position in the ensuing war, along with the trials and tribulations that follow. On Oldman’s Oscar–winning performance, Mashable’s Angie Han writes, “Oldman knows the difference between packaging and performance… There’s a living, breathing soul underneath all that makeup, at the center of all those tics, and Oldman makes him fascinating to watch.” So come for a masterclass in acting by Oldman, and stay for the gripping story that follows; it’s worth the watch. — Y.H.
How to watch: Darkest Hour is streaming on Netflix.
12. The Imitation Game
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
Won: Best Adapted Screenplay at the 87th Academy Awards
This historical drama offers one of Benedict Cumberbatch’s best performances. Based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, The Imitation Game dramatizes the life of the British mathematician as he helps Britain’s government decrypt German intelligence messages. The task is near-impossible, however, Turing (Cumberbatch) proves to be the man of the hour, but not without a series of tribulations. The drama has been praised for its raw portrayal of mental health and the harsh realities of being queer in the mid-20th century, but it’s also been critiqued for some historical inaccuracy. It remains a stunning work of gripping drama nonetheless. Rather than expecting a history lesson, enjoy The Imitation Game‘s masterclass in acting provided by a star-studded cast that includes Charles Dance, Keira Knightley, and Mark Strong. — Y.H.
How to watch: The Imitation Game is streaming on Netflix.
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
Won: Best Film Editing, Best Director (John G. Avildsen), and Best Picture at the 49th Academy Awards
The man, the myth, the legend, if you haven’t seen Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) do his thing yet, you’re missing out on a world of cinema. The first installment of the iconic franchise gave us one of the most memorable training montages ever, a soundtrack that’s lasted decades, and a finale no one will ever forget. If the first Rocky isn’t enough to get you hooked, Netflix has all of the franchise’s films for a great binge watch and lit movie night that just might have you reaching out for your own boxing gloves. — Y.H.
How to watch: Rocky is streaming on Netflix.
Credit: Francois Duhamel
Won: Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Awards
Skyfall is the 23rd installment in the Bond franchise, and it might as well be the last for being the absolute greatest. Considered by many to be the best Bond film, Skyfall follows agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) as he tries to save MI6 from being fully compromised and exposed. Bond is in a race against time and a bone-chilling villain, Raoul Silva (incredibly played by Javier Bardem), with all odds stacked against him. From its thrilling plot to its iconic soundtrack (cue “Skyfall” by Adele here), Skyfall is a must-watch. And thankfully, it’s ready to stream. — Y.H.
How to watch: Skyfall is streaming on Netflix.
15. Still Alice
Credit: Screenshot Netflix
Won: Best Actress (Julianne Moore) at the 87th Academy Awards
Based on Lisa Genova’s novel of the same name, Still Alice follows Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), a linguistics professor at Columbia University who’s been diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s. The film is a stunning, emotionally-loaded portrait of Alzheimer’s and Alice’s grappling with her diagnosis as she leans on her family. It’s a tearjerking drama that gently reminds us even when it feels like all things are lost, the love we share with one anohther is something we’ll never forget. Moore’s performance is incredible, and one watch will testify to her Academy win. The film also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish. — Y.H.
How to watch: Still Alice is streaming on Netflix.
Asterisks (*) indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list.
UPDATE: Feb. 13, 2023, 4:52 p.m. EST This list has been updated to reflect Netflix’s current selection.
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