15 Best Oscar Winners to Watch on Amazon Prime

15 Best Oscar Winners to Watch on Amazon Prime

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For all their prestige and glamor, the Academy Awards don’t always agree with critics and audiences when it comes to their idea of which films are worthy of recognition. But winning an Oscar still increases a movie’s chances of getting distribution. Such is the case on Amazon Prime, which already boasts an impressively expansive streaming library of films old and new, with an even wider selection that can be rented or purchased online. So to help you weed out the Oscar-winning films that really do deserve that gold, we at agoodmovietowatch have prepared a list of the best of these winners that you still might not have seen.

15. March of the Penguins (2005)

7.0

Country

France, United States of America

Director

Luc Jacquet

Actors

Charles Berling, Fiorello, Jules Sitruk, Morgan Freeman

Moods

Instructive, Sunday, Thrilling

An extraordinary documentary full of drama, comedy and heartbreak. It follows two penguins, a couple, for a year as they migrate, give birth and face hardships and tragedy. It captures never seen before moments that stand as a perfect illustration of survival in particular and life in general. All in a very well crafted documentary that you will find both instructive and deeply moving. Won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

14. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

7.4

Country

United States, United States of America

Director

Jonathan Lynn

Actors

Austin Pendleton, Bill Coates, Bob Penny, Bruce McGill

Moods

A-list actors, Feel-Good, Funny

Unlike the many courtroom films of its time, My Cousin Vinny forgoes theatrics and drama for true-blue comedy. It stars Joe Pesci as the titular Vinny, a newly minted New York attorney who’s taking on a murder trial in Alabama as his first case, while Marisa Tomei plays Vinny’s fiancée, Mona Lisa Vito, in an Oscar-winning turn. The loudmouthed couple are decidedly out of place in Alabama, supplying the film with many comedic gems, but they’re also unexpectedly clever. Along with its humor and memorable characters, My Cousin Vinny has come to be known for its legal accuracy and flair.

13. A Fantastic Woman (2017)

7.8

Country

Chile, France, Germany

Director

Sebastián Lelio

Actors

Alejandro Goic, Aline Kuppenheim, Amparo Noguera, Antonia Zegers

Moods

Character-driven, Emotional

As heartbroken as you will be after watching this movie, you will feel nothing but triumph in the main actor’s debut role. This movie has very little hope to offer the viewer, except the small amount felt every time the main character, Marina, gets up again to fight another day. This film depicts grief in such a profound and personal way within a character who must remain relatively silent and alone most of the movie. You will quickly know why the film is called “A Fantastic Woman”.

12. Monster (2003)

7.8

Country

Germany, United States of America

Director

Female director, Patty Jenkins

Actors

Al, Annie Corley, Brett Rice, Bruce Dern

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Dark

Monster is a biographical depiction of Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron), a prostitute and serial killer who murdered seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. The film follows the burgeoning relationship between Wuornos and young Selby Wall (Christina Ricci, in a role based on Wuornos’ real-life girlfriend Tyria Moore), as she grows increasingly desperate to provide for her young companion financially. Her desperation and her rage against men, brought on by years of both childhood and adult abuse, leads her down a dark path of murder and theft, even as she struggles to shield Selby from the horror of her crimes. The overwhelming highlight of the film is Theron’s mesmerizing performance as Wuornos—a role that won her a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004. She’s almost unrecognizable and altogether phenomenal as the volatile and increasingly unstable Wuornos, whose ferocity is interwoven with surprising affection for young Selby. This unexpected tenderness lends the film an air of tragic poignancy, and provides a bittersweet portrayal of a severely troubled woman. Very much intended for mature audiences only, Monster is a fascinating recreation of a disturbing yet compelling chapter in the annals of true crime in America.

11. West Side Story (2021)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Steven Spielberg

Actors

Ana Isabelle, Andy Powers, Annelise Cepero, Ansel Elgort

Moods

Dramatic, Romantic, Well-acted

If Steven Spielberg had just decided to do a straightforward cover version of West Side Story, it still would have been a wonder of music, movement, and color. But more than the lush camerawork and impassioned performances from Rachel Zegler, Mike Faist, and Oscar winner Ariana DeBose, this adaptation is most memorable for its renewed focus on the senselessness of its central turf war. Here, New York City exercises absolute power over the Jets and the Sharks, rendering all this gang violence as a futile attempt to hold on to outdated values in the face of economic desolation. Spielberg might not be able to do much about the story’s weaker Romeo and Juliet-inspired parts, but he still finds a way to let this often ridiculed tragic romance serve a greater purpose.

10. Man on Wire (2008)

7.9

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

James Marsh

Actors

Annie Allix, David Forman, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau

Moods

Inspiring, Mind-blowing, Thrilling

Man on Wire is a true technical masterpiece. You can almost feel the director telling the cameraman what angle to choose, or thinking about the questions that will generate the most resounding answers. However, this does not diminish the story this documentary tells one bit. It’s one that is glorious, riveting, and fun. It’s one where you feel like an insider to a world lived on and below wires, with high-stake risks. Hopefully the edge of your seat is comfortable, because this is where the movie will keep you till the very end.

9. Another Round (2020)

best

8.0

Country

Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden

Director

Thomas Vinterberg

Actors

Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt, Christiane Gjellerup Koch, Diêm Camille G., Dorte Højsted

Moods

Character-driven, Dramatic, Grown-up Comedy

Director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt) reunites with Mads Mikkelsen to tell the story of four teachers going through a mid-life crisis. They’re not sad, exactly—they have homes and jobs and are good friends with each other—but they’re not happy either. Unlike the ebullient youth they teach, they seem to have lost their lust for life, and it’s silently eating away at them, rendering them glassy-eyed and mechanic in their everyday lives. 

Enter an experiment: what if, as one scholar suggests, humans were meant to fulfill a certain alcohol concentration in order to live as fully and present as possible? The teachers use themselves as the subjects and the tide slowly starts to turn to mixed effects. Are they actually getting better or worse?

With an always-satisfying performance by Mikkelsen and an instant classic of an ender, it’s no surprise Another Round took home the award for Best Foreign Film in the 2020 Academy Awards.

8. Crazy Heart (2009)

best

8.1

Country

United States of America

Director

Scott Cooper

Actors

Beth Grant, Brian Gleason, Chad Brummett, Colin Farrell

Moods

A-list actors, Romantic, True-story-based

We all love Jeff Bridges. We all agree that we shouldn’t leave a movie he won an Oscar for unwatched. That’s enough reason to watch this movie, but there are so many others. The story is fantastic and based on true events: a country musician living rough and having a shot at happiness after he falls for a journalist who interviews him. The score is composed by T Bone Burnett. The journalist is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and another musician is played by Colin Farrell.

So many reasons to watch.

7. Undefeated (2011)

best

8.4

Country

United States of America

Director

Daniel Lindsay, T. J. Martin

Actors

Bill Courtney, Chavis Daniels, Montrail 'Money' Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown

Moods

Emotional, Sunday, Thrilling

Undefeated won an Oscar but since it’s a documentary, few sadly paid attention to it. It tells the story of a football team in a poor area in Tennessee. Kids without a bright future, until the new coach arrives. Yes, that sounds like a very old, cliché tale. But keep in mind it is a documentary, and the story it tells is powerful, gripping, and any familiarity quickly becomes irrelevant. Even if you have no interest in American football, or in sports in general, you will love it and more than likely find yourself reaching for the Kleenex at least a few times before the credits roll.

6. Drive My Car (2021)

best

8.9

Country

Japan

Director

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Actors

Ahn Hwi-tae, Ahn Hwitae, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Jin Dae-yeon

Moods

Character-driven, Dramatic, Slow

In Drive My Car, a widowed artist travels to Hiroshima for his latest production. There he meets a young woman enlisted to drive him around the area. They forge an unexpected bond and soon share pithy observations and long-buried secrets, which culminate in a touching scene of catharsis and forgiveness.

Not a lot is said in this three-hour film, but when words (and signals) are shared, they are always underlaid with simple but transcendent truths. Drive My Car is a gripping film that explores love and loss in its own quiet way, at once intense and intimate.

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