How are the Oscars still relevant? No matter how much we criticise the Academy Awards for their rampant racism, sexism or homophobia, lack of inclusivity, diversity or representation, the Oscars still predominantly prevail as one of the most awaited and much-coveted award shows in Hollywood.
Natalie Portman once said, “I think it’s a great honour to win an Oscar but I think if you aim to be rewarded in your life you’ll get nowhere. I think that the biggest reward is the work itself and what you get out of it and the connections you make with other people.” While we agree with her sentiment, the Oscars still hold unbridled validation and importance in the lives of people remotely connected to filmmaking.
The Academy has various members who judge performances and films which often leads to the inclusion of bias, prejudices, grudges and personal tastes. While most nominees are quite terrific, the Oscars, in my opinion, have not been fair since the 60s. From legendary auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick being blatantly ignored by the Academy to films like Ang lee’s Brokeback Mountain being snubbed due to the overt homoeroticism between the leads, extraordinary filmography is often overlooked.
With the 94th Academy Award ceremony fast approaching on March 28th, here is a list of five amazing movies on Netflix that deserved an oscar:
5 amazing movies on Netflix that deserved an Oscar
5. American Psycho (Mary Harron, 2000)
This cult-favourite film is an adaptation of the 1991 Bert Easton Ellis novel and records a phenomenal performance by the lead actor Christian Bale. He is enigmatic as the billionaire whose twisted sexual fetishes and bloodlust are in direct contrast with his facade of being a gentleman with poise and grace.
Also starring Chloe Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Willem Defoe and Jared Leto, the film deserved a Best Actor nod for Bale’s brilliant and deranged performance as his hedonistic indulgences take him tumbling down a rabbit hole of mania and madness.
4. The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, The Florida Project is human, heartbreaking and beautiful to watch. The narrative focuses on poverty and the desire to move up the social ladder. It is realistic and individualistic; Baker’s docudrama-like-filmmaking adds a hint of realism to the film. Tender and raw, it deftly captures lost innocence quite vividly. The setting is simplistic, but the anxiety and terror rooted in the people’s lives in the film make it an astonishing indie masterpiece that deserved an Oscar validation in terms of cinematography, film aesthetics etc.
Six-year-old Moonee is a motel resident in Florida with her reckless single mother. Via the manager’s lens, the viewers get an insight into their lives and that of other tenants that are bogged down by abject poverty and an unquenchable thirst for a better tomorrow.
3. Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)
Based on James Sallis’ eponymous 2005 novel, Drive is as stylish and enigmatic in its neon grim realities as the lead actor, Ryan Gosling. Driving a Chevy Impala, with a poignant expression adorning his hardened features, Gosling represents the struggling everyman whose impassive and existential demeanour makes him unforgettable. Gosling deserved the Best Actor award due to his incredible performance as the vengeful everyman whose voluminous silence adds layers to his character.
Gosling even performed most of his stunts on his own. The film, also starring Carey Mulligan, prevails as Refn’s ultimate provocative arthouse-action masterpiece as it tells the story of Gosling’s unnamed character getting embroiled in a relationship that makes him take up a dangerous feat.
2. Carol (Todd Hayes, 2015)
The film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel and records the turbulence of a lesbian love story during times when society was filled with conservatism regarding homosexuality and lesbianism in particular at the height of blatant homophobia. Starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, this thought-provoking and groundbreaking story of love, lesbianism, sexual repression and intimacy, was emitted from the Academy Awards, hinting at the Academy’s raging homophobia. Vulnerable and raw, the film deserved an Oscar nod for the film, direction and brilliant performances from the leads.
The story revolves around the titular Carol who faces a daunting obstacle when her husband threatens to expose her latent lesbianism during the contentious divorce proceedings to prevent her from seeing her daughter. Carol takes a bold decision, all the while falling in love with a young woman photographer.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont,1994)
Based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella titled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton and others in lead roles. Although it received seven Oscar nominations, it flopped at the box office due to the seemingly grim subject matter and missed out on the much-deserved Oscars. With phenomenal performances, most notably from Freeman, the Oscars robbed him of the Award. Brimming with rebellion, brutality and madness amidst growing friendship and hope, it is one of the most enthralling films of all time that everybody needs to watch.
The film revolves around a banker who is sent to prison for having allegedly murdered his wife and her lover despite pleading innocent. When the going gets tough, he befriends a fellow inmate and gets entangled in a money-laundering business helmed by a prison warden.