10 Good Oscar Nominees to Watch on Amazon Prime

10 Good Oscar Nominees to Watch on Amazon Prime

July 5, 2024

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When Oscar night is over and awards season has come to an end, only a handful of films really get to share in the spotlight. It’s likely that most of the movies that get nominated without winning fade back into obscurity, even if many of them tend to be better than those that actually take home the statue. So to make sure you don’t miss out on the host of great films that only stay in the public consciousness until Oscar night, we at agoodmovietowatch have put together a list of underappreciated but highly-rated Oscar nominees that you can watch now on Amazon Prime—which boasts a wide library of older and newer titles, and an even more expansive list of films available for rent or purchase.

1. Cold War (2018)

best

9.2

Country

France, Poland, UK

Director

Paweł Pawlikowski

Actors

Adam Ferency, Adam Szyszkowski, Adam Woronowicz, Agata Kulesza

Moods

Depressing, Romantic, Tear-jerker

While barely 90 minutes long, Cold War is epic in scope and a modern testament to what cinema can be. Whether we are feasting our eyes on the decaying post-war landscape of Poland, the patinated streets of East Berlin, or the delicate magic of a historic Paris, Cold War offers its viewers meticulously staged black-and-white beauty, conceived by Polish wunderkind director Paweł Pawlikowski and his trusted cinematographer Łukasz Ża. Winner of a slew of prestigious awards, this is a film made for the silver screen, so we recommend leaving your iPhone on the table and getting your hands on the biggest screen you can muster for watching this. The plot is essentially about the obsessive attraction between musician Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and the young singer Zula (Joanna Kulig), who is recruited as the newest member of the former’s state-sponsored folk music band. Cold War follows their impossible love for fourteen years and across many European countries on each side of the Iron Curtain. It is a statement on how far artists go for their art, especially when they become constrained not only by dictatorship but also love. A poetic, sexy, and gorgeous movie without a wasted moment. A work of art.

2. A Man Called Ove (2015)

best

9.0

Country

Norway, Sweden

Director

Hannes Holm

Actors

Anna Granath, Bahar Pars, Borje Lundberg, Chatarina Larsson

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Heart-warming

Based on Fredrick Backman’s 2012 best-selling book of the same name, this Swedish hit comedy-drama introduces us to Ove, an elderly man who feels like his life is over. After losing his wife, the short-fused retiree spends his days grumpily enforcing block association rules in his neighborhood. He is your typical unhappy, old neighbor, somebody you would try to avoid. One new family does not give up and befriends Ove, played by an impeccable Rolf Lassgård, despite his best intentions to put them off. As the plot unfolds, however, you learn more about the story behind the man, and, in classic walk-a-mile-in-his-shoes fashion, start to find him rather loveable. After all, nobody is born grumpy and cynical. Naturally, this is a sweet and sentimental film. But an amazing lead performance and a charming, darkly funny script rescue it from drifting too far off the shore. The result is a wholesome, fun, and thoughtful dramedy with a beautiful message.

3. The Kids Are All Right (2010)

best

8.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Lisa Cholodenko

Actors

Amy Grabow, Annette Bening, Diego Calderón, Eddie Hassell

Moods

Emotional, Funny, Grown-up Comedy

Sit back, relax, and wait for the feels. With amazing performances from an ensemble cast, including Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Annette Bening, as well as excellent directing; The Kids Are Alright is a highly realistic yet entertaining take on families, growing up as children, and growing as parents. Moore and Bening play a gay LA couple, whose two kids meet their biological father, a goofy, laid-back sperm donor, portrayed perfectly by Ruffalo. Nominated for four Oscars and awarded with two Golden Globes, The Kids Are Alright is an arresting, authentic, and astute indie comedy-drama, and a pleasure to watch. Director Lisa Cholodenko and her talented cast have really created something special here!

4. Women Talking (2022)

best

8.3

Country

Canada, United States of America

Director

Female director, Sarah Polley

Actors

August Winter, Ben Whishaw, Caroline Gillis, Claire Foy

Moods

A-list actors, Discussion-sparking, Dramatic

Not much happens in Women Talking, but what it lacks in action it more than makes up for in message. As the wronged women of an insular Christian colony decide whether they should leave or stay in their community, valuable points on each side are raised and debated fiercely. Are the men at fault or is there a bigger problem at hand? Is it sacrilegious to refuse forgiveness? Will leaving really solve anything? 

The women of this ultraconservative and anti-modern community may not know how to read or write, but years of toiling away on land, family, and faith have made them wise beyond their years, which makes their discussion all the more captivating and powerful. Relevant themes, coupled with director Sarah Polley’s poetic shots and the cast’s all-around stellar performances, make Women Talking a uniquely compelling and timeless watch.

5. Anomalisa (2016)

best

8.3

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson

Actors

David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Mind-blowing

Putting the inherent eeriness of stop motion animation to perfect use, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa create a legitimately disturbing experience of a man’s paranoid delusions, as he tries desperately to make a real human connection while perceiving everyone around him as the same person. It’s that (unfortunately) rare animated film that understands that this medium can tell complex, even terrifying, stories for grown-ups while respecting their intelligence. And it’s still gorgeously put together, with seamless movements from the character puppets and evocative lighting and cinematography that puts the film firmly in the uncanny valley. It’s a tougher watch than it looks, but the depth of feeling it captures is nothing short of totally human.

6. Argentina, 1985 (2022)

7.9

Country

Argentina, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Santiago Mitre

Actors

Agustín Rittano, Alejandra Flechner, Alejo Garcia Pintos, Antonia Bengoechea

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Smart

Argentina, 1985 is a legal drama about how a prosecutor and his young team were able to mount evidence—despite all threats and odds—against the officials behind a brutal military dictatorship. The public trial is supposedly the first of its kind in Latin America, a marker of true democracy that made a hero out of Julio Strassera and Moreno Ocampo, who both led the case.

Despite the presence of very serious themes, there are moments of lighthearted humor here that work to stress the film’s underlying message of goodwill and perseverance. Argentina, 1985 competed at major festivals this 2022, and it’s Argentina’s official entry at the 2023 Academy Awards.

7. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

7.8

Country

Australia, United States of America

Director

Stephan Elliott

Actors

Bill Hunter, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving, Kenneth Radley

Moods

A-list actors, Character-driven, Emotional

Cheerfully outrageous yet heartwarmingly tender, the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was ahead of its time, daring to dive into drag and transexuality, when the rest of the world was still coming around to accepting homosexuality. On the bus which the title is named after, two drag queens and a trans woman have a road trip, that does have some difficult moments, when they drive through intolerant towns, but overall, becomes quite lovely, as the three forge a bond through drag, witty, sarcastic quips and sharing vulnerable moments. While all three leads are portrayed by cis men, and the role of Bob’s Filipino wife feels slightly stereotypical, overall, The Adventures of Priscilla is a grand ol’ time, a joyful film about finding family in a world where tolerance wasn’t a guarantee.

8. Biutiful (2010)

7.7

Country

Mexico, Spain, United States of America

Director

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Alejandro González Iñárritu

Actors

Adelfa Calvo, Ailie Ye, Alain Hernández, Ana Wagener

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Depressing

Ever wondered how much your life will change when faced with the reality that death is about to come? That’s normal, and not nearly as life-altering as being told you only have a few more moments to live. Because of a terminal illness, Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is driven to this situation and tries to right his wrongs in the wake of modern Barcelona. This melodrama is supercharged by Bardem’s unearthly performance as the story’s only hero, demonstrating the selfless love of a destroyed and dying father to his children – paired with cinematography unlike any other, this film is exceptionally beautiful. Directed by González Iñárritu’ (Babel, Birdman, The Revenant).

9. The Age of Innocence (1993)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Martin Scorsese

Actors

Alec McCowen, Alexis Smith, Brian Davies, Carolyn Farina

Moods

A-list actors, Dramatic, Emotional

Known for showcasing the grittier side of New York in his films, Martin Scorsese shifts to its upper echelons in The Age of Innocence. Based on the 1920 novel, the film follows society attorney Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he courts and marries the respectable May Welland (Winona Ryder), despite his desire for childhood friend Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Undeniably gorgeous and impressively shot, what ultimately makes the film stand out among Scorsese’s work is how well the three leads embody the complex characters of the novel on multiple levels. Day-Lewis skillfully turns a corrupt, arrogant lawyer into someone who admirably refuses to be anything but himself, while Pfeiffer hides a stubbornness and frustration within Olenska. But it’s Ryder who best portrays her character’s complexity, Welland’s wide-eyed gaze concealing secret manipulations. All of them drive this story that not only mourns for lost love, but acts as a mourning for a lost Golden Age.

10. Deliver Us From Evil (2006)

7.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Amy J. Berg, Female director

Actors

Adam, Oliver O'Grady, Pope Benedict XVI, Thomas Doyle

Moods

True-crime

A truly timely and difficult documentary, Deliver Us From Evil follows an interviewed confession of a Catholic pedophile. In addition, the film shows his victims, their coping strategies and lives as well as the extreme lengths the Catholic Church went to to cover up and enable the systemic rape of children. While often times hard to watch, this film shines a light into the dark corners of human behavior, forgiveness, sin and faith in a way that is both confronting and relatable.

Comments

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Anonymous

Good list! I enjoyed!

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