The Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars, is an annual ceremony celebrating the best in cinema. If a film wins an Oscar then it’s considered to be one of the best in its genre. Whether because of the acting, the writing, the directing, or the technical side of things.
With Netflix, you can binge-watch your way through some of the greatest films that have graced the bigscreen. Covering genres including comedy, history, drama, and suspense, this list of Oscar-winning movies available on Netflix has a little something for everyone. Enjoy!
1. The Big Short (2015)
Only an ensemble cast like that led by Steve Carrell and Christian Bale could make a subject like credit default swaps entertaining. The Big Short is an engaging film about the 2008 financial market crisis that left the United States reeling. It also stars Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, with cameos by Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, and Richard Thaler.
The Big Short won an Academy Award for its adaptation of Michael Lewis’ bestseller of the same name.
2. Spotlight (2015)
A star-studded cast delivers the dramatic true story of how the Boston Globe’s investigative reporting team uncovered a far-reaching sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber star in the most recent Oscar winner for Best Picture available to U.S. viewers on Netflix.
In addition to winning Best Picture, Spotlight also snagged Best Original Screenplay, as well as getting nominated for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Film Editing.
3. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Woody Harrelson star in No Country for Old Men. This is a suspense-filled crime drama that is based on Cormac McCarthy’s book of the same name. In true Coen Brothers fashion, the film is a fast-paced chain reaction of events that start with a Vietnam veteran discovering two million dollars worth of drug money in the desert. Little does he know that a killer is on his heels.
The 2007 flick snagged Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor.
4. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
A must-watch for any literary buff, Shakespeare in Love tells the fictionalized story of a young William Shakespeare struggling to write the romantic story of Romeo and Juliet, as he falls in love with Viola DeLesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow).
The film won Best Picture, while also earning Paltrow an Academy Award for Best Actress.
5. Amadeus (1985)
Now considered a cult classic, Amadeus is a period drama, which, like Shakespeare in Love, tells the fictionalized story of a real person. Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is caught in the sights of another composer, Antonio Salieri. Blinded by his jealousy, Salieri plots to kill Mozart.
Amadeus won eight Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture, putting it at the top of this list for the most Oscar wins.
6. Braveheart (1995)
Mel Gibson’s Scottish period drama, while a popular and beautifully told story, is pretty historically inaccurate. Probably best known for the oft-quoted line, “They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom,” Braveheart tells the story of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace and his struggle against the English.
Not only did the movie win the Academy Award for Best Picture, it also earned Mel Gibson his first Oscar as a director.
7. Milk (2008)
Milk is one of a few biopics on the list. Sean Penn stars as Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist who also happened to be the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. The movie is a window to the last eight years of Milk’s life, from his push to secure a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to his assassination in 1978.
Penn won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Milk.
8. Beginners (2011)
A beautifully subtle film, Beginners stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer as father and son. Plummer plays the unlikely role of a father who comes out to his son at the age of 75. Beginners, while mostly fictional, is based on director Mike Mill’s father’s true life coming out at the age of 75.
Christopher Plummer’s stellar portrayal earned him an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
9. The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Usual Suspects is a heist movie starring Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro, Kevin Pollak, and Kevin Spacey. It tells the story of a ragtag group of conmen brought together by circumstance who plot to pull off the heist of their careers. However, everything is not as it seems.
The Usual Suspects won Kevin Spacey one of his two Oscars, this one for Best Supporting Actor.
10. Good Will Hunting (1997)
It’s hard to believe that Good Will Hunting is already 20 years old. The late Robin Williams plays a psychology professor who works with Matt Damon’s eponymous university janitor. Together they work to address his inner demons and embrace his intellectual potential.
Good Will Hunting was a breakthrough opportunity for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and their win for Best Screenplay brought us one of the greatest Oscar acceptance speeches ever. It also earned Robin Williams the well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Not in the U.S.? No Problem
Some of the movies listed above are also available to non-U.S. viewers. However, Netflix viewers in other countries also have other Oscar-winning movies to choose from. To find out if a movie is available in your region, check out FlixSearch.
In the U.K., the list includes Still Alice, Annie Hall, Birdman, Titanic, and The King’s Speech.
In Canada, the list includes Out of Africa, Schindler’s list, American Beauty, Chicago, The Departed, The Hurt Locker, and 12 Years a Slave.
What are your favorite Oscar-winning movies available on Netflix? Did they make our list? If not, please feel free to suggest others in the comments below!