Amazon Prime has a selection of some of the most note-worthy, award-winning classics. These are films that have garnered both popular and critical acclaim. Whether you’re in the mood for a thriller, a romance, or a comedy, we’ve got you covered. From gripping dramas to heartwarming tales, there’s something for everyone on this list. Here are the 13 best Oscar movies on Amazon Prime available for streaming, as of May 25, 2021:
1. Minari (2020)
Director: Lee Isaac Chung
A Sundance winner, Minari follows a Korean American family in 1980s America who move from California to an Arkansas farm in search of their American dreams. A classic immigrant story but with unique details and characters, Minari is an autobiographical drama by Lee Isaac Chung portraying cultural decisions that the family must make to assimilate while staying true to their own culture. [Related: 31 Best Korean Movies Of The 21st Century]
Watch Minari on Amazon Prime
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Youn Yuh-jung)
2. Another Round (2020)
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Four high school teachers embark on a quest to find out how the daily consumption of alcohol affects their life. Selected as the Denmark’s entry to the 93rd Academy Awards for the best international feature film, Another Round goes deeper than just being a film about ensuing incidents from an enjoyable social experiment, to hold up a mirror to an existing binge drinking culture that is often encouraged under the pretext of fun. As the characters push their experiment to it and their limits, underlying tensions simmer leading them to make a choice between continuing down the same path or dealing with their actions.
Oscar: Best International Feature Film
3. Parasite (2019)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho’s social satire tells a timeless tale about the haves and the have-nots. But the brilliance lies in the layers of fascinating details that offers a unique viewing experience. The narrative is centered on two nuclear families in Seoul, one poor and another rich. The poor Kim family cons their way to work for the wealthy Park family. The horrors of economic disparity wreak havoc on both the families. Parasite largely unfolds in grey zones without assigning blame to a particular class. It shows how antipathy is rooted in both sides and the villain here is the stratified system. [Related: All 7 Bong Joon Ho Movies, Ranked]
Watch Parasite on Amazon Prime
4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film
4. The Hurt Locker (2008)
Director: Kathryn Ann Bigelow
One of the best war films ever made, The Hurt Locker takes a close look at the life of a young soldier who disposes of bombs — a job which people rarely survive. The sheer intensity of the film is such that the audience feels like they are in the battlefield right alongside Jeremy Renner, hoping to God that he wouldn’t accidentally snag a trip wire. This is one you don’t want to miss out on. The movie bores into your very being and draws you in. The tension feels real enough to make your nerves go haywire. Emotional subtlety is achieved through some of the best performances ever given in a war movie.
6 Oscars: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks make a wonderful pair. This partnership was at its peak with Saving Private Ryan, one of the best war films ever made. His first war film after the legendary Schindler’s List, this was a full-on battle right from the start. It took us to the very heart of World War II, and its most famous event, the Normandy Invasion.
That opening battle sequence will remain one of the finest scenes in all of cinema. It is truly a sight to see, and it is Steven Spielberg at his finest. In a tragic quest to track down the last surviving brother in a family of soldiers, Tom Hanks and his squad take us through the tolls and spoils of war, and how it affects the human mind. Baffling, how it didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar that year.
6. Inception (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a thief who uses a one-of-a-kind modern contraption to steal valuable ideas from people’s minds. A risky mission from an esteemed client forces him to bring back the entire gang for one last heist. The proposition is to plant an idea instead of stealing it. This would require them to delve deeper into the dark corners of the brain. One wrong move and they could be trapped in limbo forever. With all those risks, can Leo’s team power through the task? Will they make it out in one piece?
Inception’s the kind of movie that manages to surprise you with a new angle every time you watch it. Even if you did know every single detail of the plot, Christopher Nolan still has something up his sleeve to blow your mind away. Watch it for the superlative acting and the ingenious screenplay.
4 Oscars: Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing
7. Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Lee Zemeckis
In the hands of another actor, Forrest Gump could have easily become a caricature. Hanks turns Gump, a pure simple man with a below average IQ, into an utterly charming real person. Robert Zemeckis’ movie tracks down the life journey of an innocent guy, set against the backdrop of America’s turbulent history. In spite of the meandering and slightly mawkish narrative, the film stands out due to Hanks’ sincere portrayal of the titular character. He doesn’t try to extract lewd humour from the character’s intellectual deficits. He rather subtly conveys the inner reality and emotions of the character. When I first watched the film, there were several moments that made me cry. The three unforgettable ones among the tear-inducing sequences: Gump’s monologue, Bubba’s death, and the reaction Gump shows after realizing that he has a son.
Director: Peter Jackson
The Fellowship of the Ring opened to rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike. Back in 2001, the special effects were revolutionary, so don’t come to me with “The effects are too campy”. What made this movie so special wasn’t (just) the effects. The movie had a heart, soul and emotion. A decade and a half later, the movies have aged like the fine Elvish wine from the gardens of Dorwinion.
The entire trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) earned a total of $3 billion in box office sales. The films eventually earned a collective 17 Academy Awards, with the Return of the King picking up an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.
The Return of the King, in particular, set numerous records at the Oscars.
9. The Godfather (1972)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
When director Francis Ford Coppola wanted Al Pacino to play the role of Michael Corleone in the seminal gangster epic The Godfather, the studio executives were appalled. They wanted a young star like Robert Redford or Jack Nicholson or Warren Beatty.
Film historians have often pointed to studio execs opinion of Coppola being a little ‘mad,’ for casting a ‘kid’ aka ‘that midget’ to do a fiery role. But the actor who had only two movie acting credits to his list undertook the role with formidable strength. (Initially, Al too thought he wasn’t right for the role). The rest is history.
3 Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Actor
10. The Godfather II (1974)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather II was Michael Corleone’s story. It depicts how he falls from grace and realizes that he is alone in the world. The heartbreaking betrayals and menace corresponds to Michael’s embrace of the dark side. The film has the earlier instance of the famous Al Pacino ‘explosion’ – when Michael kisses Fredo and later shouts at Kay. But the true greatness of the performance lies in the quiet, subtle moments, as the unexpressed fury depraves his moral balance.
He is at once restrained and also subtly suggesting the rage and unbridled passion lying deep within. Even though I have seen the film numerous times, the final scene makes my hair stand on end.
Watch The Godfather II
6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Original Music Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design
11. Moonlight (2016)
Director: Berry Jenkins
It’s hard to put down in words what I felt after watching this one. Berry Jenkins’ Moonlight is an experience. It’s a groundbreaking film that amazingly gets under your skin and never lets go. From the first scene to last, it stays raw and thoughtful. The director encapsulates several socially verboten issues through the story of its protagonist in three acts, with each act depicting different stages of his life.
Jenkins coherently infuses themes of drugs, poverty, racism and intolerance in the core plot of self-discovery and sexual identity. It isn’t necessary for a person to be gay to fully relate to the proceedings as the story is well told. And this is the filmmaker’s biggest achievement. One can easily see the world through Chiron’s eyes and comprehend the fight that is to overcome insurmountable hurdles in life.
3 Oscars: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali), Best Adapted Screenplay
12) Gravity (2013)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Gravity follows American astronauts stranded in space after the mid-orbit destruction of their Space Shuttle, and their brave attempt to return to Earth. It won 7 Academy Awards including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. Like Interstellar, Gravity also explores themes of grief and emotional detachment while out in the cold depths of space. I still vividly remember being awe-struck by the visuals. It was a technically dazzling production that had me at the edge of my seat during the nail-biting final act.
Watch Gravity on Amazon Prime
6 Oscars: Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing
13. Interstellar (2014)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, the film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for mankind. Visually breathtaking and conceptually audacious, Interstellar was a spectacle that needed to be seen on the biggest screen. Despite the myriad of scientific concepts, I loved that the film had a strong emotional core. Its overriding message about love — a powerful force that cannot be quantified in scientific terms struck a chord with me. [Related: 7 Movies Like Interstellar That Should Be On Your Watchlist]
Oscar: Best Visual Effects
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