We’ll soon know which film will join the esteemed ranks of the Oscars Best Picture winners. Since handing out the first Best Picture statuette to WWI drama “Wings” in 1929, the Academy has given the prestigious award to 87 films.
Netflix Canada has 10 of the past Best Picture winners available to stream, including some of the more recent winners.
“12 Years A Slave”
2014’s Best Picture winner is the harrowing tale of a free African-American musician from New York who is kidnapped and entered into the slave trade in the South in 1841. Adapted from the true memoirs of Solomon Northrup, “12 Years A Slave” is the first film directed by a black filmmaker to win Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen assembled an ensemble cast that includes Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Taran Killam, Paul Dano and Alfre Woodard.
“The King’s Speech”
In 2011 Best Picture winner “The King’s Speech”, shy and stuttering Prince Albert became an unlikely prince after assuming the throne from his scandal-plagued brother King Edward VIII. Colin Firth nabbed the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as King George VI who, at the behest of his wife Queen Elizabeth (played by Helena Bonham Carter), seeks speech therapist Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush) who would not only help the king overcome his stuttering and stammering, but would go on to become a life-long friend.
“The Hurt Locker”
Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director in 2010 for her Iraq war drama “The Hurt Locker”. Jeremy Renner stars as adrenaline-junkie Sergeant First Class William James who is tasked with disposing bombs as the lead of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team in Iraq after his predecessor was, well, blown up. Anthony Mackie and Guy Pearce co-star in the “The Hurt Locker” which is oddly the “lowest-grossing movie” to ever win Best Picture.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” took home four Oscars, including Best Picture. Adapted from the Hong Kong crime drama “Infernal Affairs”, Scorsese’s remake followed a young undercover police office (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) who infiltrates an Irish crime syndicate run by kingpin Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Co-starring Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Vera Farmiga, the violent and bloody film unleashed a massive PR campaign ahead of the awards, which many claim helped lead it to victory over more traditional Oscar fare like “The Queen”.
“Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King”
The third film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy finally clinched top honours in 2004. The final chapter based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth saga dominated Oscar night, taking home all 11 Academy Awards it was nominated for, becoming the first and so far only film to win more than 10 Oscars without receiving a single acting nomination.
In 2003, “Chicago” became the first musical to win Best Picture since “Oliver!” took home the top prize in 1969. Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones sang and danced their way through the Prohibition-era musical about two murderers obsessed with the spotlight who con and charm their off of Death Row and into Vaudeville. The film took home six Oscars including Best Supporting Actress for Zeta-Jones.
The suburban drama about a man’s (played by Kevin Spacey) mid-life crisis won a total of five Oscars in 2000. In his Best Actor-winning role, Spacey is a frustrated man estranged from his wife and daughter who becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend. Sam Mendes is one of only six directors who have ever won Best Picture for their debut film, something “Lion” director Garth Davis hopes to replicate this year.
Steven Spielberg’s timeless and heart-wrenching tale about the Holocaust took home the top prize at the 1994 ceremony. Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) is a wealthy Nazi businessman who comes to Krakow, Poland to set up an ammunitions factory using the cheap labour from the nearby Jewish ghettos. He witnesses the brutality of the Nazis first-hand when an SS overseer (played by Ralph Fiennes) demands the Jewish workers be moved to a concentration camp, as Schindler vows to save as many people as possible. Considered Spielberg’s masterpiece, “Schindler’s List” was placed on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest American films of all-time.
“Out Of Africa”
Meryl Streep was only celebrating her fourth Oscar nomination in 1986 when “Out Of Africa” won Best Picture. While Steep didn’t win for her role as a Danish woman who moves to a plantation in British East Africa, only to be consumed by a love affair with a game-hunter (played by Robert Redford), the film took home a total of seven Oscars. Over 30 years later, Streep is once again up for Best Actress for her performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins” – her 20th nomination – making her the most-nominated actor of all-time.
“All About Eve”
The oldest Best Picture winner available on Netflix, “All About Eve” was the first film of three films to land 14 nominations (winning six awards including Best Picture), something that has only been replicated by “Titanic” and “La La Land”. A comedy about ambition, the film stars Anne Baxter as an ingenue who ingratiates herself with an aging stage actress and her theatre friends, who, later in life, gather to watch her accept an award. With a strong female cast, “All About Eve” nabbed Oscar nominations for all four of its actresses, including Baxter, Bette Davis, Thelma Ritter and Celeste Holm and brought us Davis’ classic line, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”