Is ‘Darkest Hour’ the most obvious Oscar-bait movie ever made?
(Credit: Netflix)


Is 'Darkest Hour' the most obvious Oscar-bait movie ever made?

Netflix isn’t just a place for teen dramas or high-profile true crime series; it also has stacks and stacks of classic movies, including some Oscar-winning movies, like Gary Oldman’s star turn in Darkest Hour. The film is regarded as some of Oldman’s best work, but was it purely contrived to win the actor his Oscar?

If you think that the Oscars are an honest reflection of the very best movies to come out any given year, it comes with no pleasure to inform you that you are wrong. Instead, think of the Academy Awards more like an elite clique of sparkly celebrities and bullish media moguls, with every piece of the Hollywood puzzle working around the clock to keep up the pretence that they are a respectable, mystical business. 

Indeed, the reality is that, whilst a movie studio cannot outright buy an Oscar, they can come pretty darn close, pumping money into a particular production whilst gearing the content of a movie to rub the Academy up the right way. The perfect Oscar-bait movie, therefore, consists of an established director taking on a war movie, biopic or modern melodrama with a popular Hollywood actor in the lead role. 

So transparent in modern filmmaking that they’ve become something of an in-joke amongst fans, Oscar-bait movies are best remembered for their tragic lead performances. Featuring an actor who shouts, screams and allows their face to be applied with several layers of prosthetics, the likes of Gary Oldman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep are each guilty of overacting in their attempts to snatch a precious Oscar statuette. 

The British actor Gary Oldman won the Oscar for ‘Best Leading Actor’ back in 2018 thanks to his prosthetic-laden performance as Winston Churchill. Recognised as one of the most celebrated historical figures of all time, it’s no surprise that the Academy favoured Oldman’s performance over the likes of fellow nominees Daniel Day-Lewis, Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya, even if their performances were far superior. 

Delivering a decent impression of the politician under some Oscar-winning makeup work, all Oldman had to do was deliver Churchill’s famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to have the award sealed before the ceremony had even begun.

Watch Darkest Hour on Netflix now.