With the Oscars taking place tonight, there is that usual sense of excitement that award season brings and the anticipation as to who will take home the world of film's most coveted awards. For many it is an opportunity to watch, or rewatch, some of the great films from years gone by, but as we enter the 93rd edition of the annual awards it can be hard to know where to begin. We thought we'd make things a little easier, looking back over just the last five years, and pick some of our favourite Oscar winning films to add to your watchlist. So grab some popcorn, relax and dive right in to some of our favourite Academy Award winning films.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Crime/Dark Comedy)
Starring the two powerhouses that are Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, this film is powerful, moving and funny all in one go. It comes as no surprise the two scooped up accolades for their performances, being masters of their field and seemingly perfect in every role they play, of which Three Billboards is no different. Teaming up with Woody Harrelson
, who is also on the top of his game, the ensemble tackle deep issues from rape, to failure to convict and more, contrasting brilliantly between moments that are heartbreaking, thought provoking and humorous, all expertly rolled into one. This film is different from many you’ll have watched before, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it is certainly one to watch for movie lovers.
Whilst classified as a drama, BlacKkKlansman is an amalgamation of dark comedy, crime, drama and true story to bring to the silver screen the truly spellbinding tale of Ron Stallworth, who was not only the first African-American detective in Colorado Spring but who famously infiltrated Colorado’s Ku Klux Klan ranks in the 1970s. The film expertly produced, directed and written by Spike Lee, stars John David Washington and Adam Driver, the two bouncing off one another to provide stellar performances. Another thought provoking film, it is created in a way that juxtaposes moments that are abhorrent and shocking, with moments that make you laugh out loud, earning it the best adapted screenplay at that year’s Oscars ceremony.
Bohemian Rhapsody (Biopic)
Biopic’s can go one of two ways, and on the whole it is entirely dependent on the person chosen to play the lead. For Bohemian Rhapsody, that lead was even more integral, to match the complex and powerful character that was Freddie Mercury and to be able to recreate his mannerisms as artfully as Rami Malek did, was a feat not many would be able to achieve. It is no wonder that his performance, at times eerily reminiscent of Mercury, won him his first Academy Award. Whether a fan of Queen or not, the biopic is a tantalising watch, showing all sides of Mercury’s life from his career highs to the struggles in his personal life. Made just a year before Rocketman, the two biopics offer too excellent but incredibly different takes on two titans of the music industry.
Black Panther (Action/Adventure)
The legacy of Black Panther has only become greater as time has passed, and when last year we discovered the personal battle Chadwick Boseman was undergoing whilst filming, the film and his performance in it only become more impressive. Black Panther is one of those iconic films that will hold a place in cinematic history for its cultural significance, its beautiful cinematography and its powerful performances. Boseman's presence on the screen was undeniable, but he was also well supported by his co-stars, the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright. The strong male characters are complimented by equally strong, well written female characters in a sphere of cinema where historically female characters often play a minor role. Winning Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design, it's no wonder Black Panther is noted for its visual excellence as much as its strong performances.
Animated films aren’t necessarily the first thing that come to mind when we mention the Academy Awards, but a number of your favourites will definitely have done well over the years. Over the last few years there have been a number of well recognised family films, but Coco ranks amongst one of the most heartwarming and, at times, heart wrenching. Inspired by the Mexican celebration Day of the Dead, Coco is a celebration of family and music through the eyes of a twelve year old boy. A heartwarming film for all the family, Coco deservedly won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.
Get Out (Horror/Thriller)
Horror is a notoriously tricky genre, hated by many and very hard to get right. It can often be too gorey, too slapstick or too embedded in fantasy to be taken seriously, especially during award season. Get Out was that rare phenomenon of a “Horror” film that broke the mould, drawing on dark comedy and most importantly social themes and a social critique that creates a film that is in equal parts humorous, scary and thought provoking. A masterpiece by Jordan Peele, which earns his Best Screenplay at the Oscars, is brought to life, most notably by the stellar performance of Daniel Kaluuya who seems to be able to naturally bring an authenticity and emotion to his performances that most could only dream of.