Since the 84th Annual Academy Awards takes place this weekend (Sunday, 02/26/12) I decided to choose some Oscar winning films that you can enjoy right now on Netflix Streaming.
If you are more of a watcher than a reader and/or just want to watch me fangirl out over some of these flicks you can watch me also explaining this post above, or you can just skip that and read through.
Brokeback Mountain (1995) (Available Until 12/16/14)
(Best Director-Ang Lee, Best Adapted Screenplay-Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, Best Original Score-Gustavo Santaolalla)
Brokeback Mountain is the story of two cowboys who fall in love but can’t be together except during a brief time when they are working alone on a mountain. The film stars the late Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway and Randy Quaid.
What Dreams May Come (1998) (Available Until 01/01/14)
(Best Visual Effects-Joel Hynek, Nicholas Brooks, Stuart Robertson & Kevin Scott Mack )
Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Annabella Sciorra star in a movie about a man who tries to find his wife in the afterlife after he dies. The problem is that while he was meant to reside in heaven she is damned to hell.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) (Available Until 10/01/13)
(Best Original Song-Moon River by Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer, Best Score-Henry Mancini)
Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard star in this movie that was loosely based on the book by Truman Capote. Hepburn is a wannabe socialite who meets a writer when he moves into her apartment building.
The Graduate (1967) (Available Until 03/01/13)
(Best Director-Mike Nichols)
I finally watched all of The Graduate last year when I was able to see it as part of a classic film series on the big screen. It’s quite disconcerting. Dustin Hoffman is a guy who’s right out of college and drifting. So he spends his summer drinking and sexing up Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Then he decides that he’s in love with her daughter. In homages to the movie Hoffman is usually portrayed as a sympathetic character but he actually seems totally sociopathic.
Good Will Hunting (1997) (Available Until 01/01/13)
(Best Actor in a Supporting Role-Robin Williams, Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen-Matt Damon & Ben Affleck)
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck made their splash into hollywood when they wrote and starred in this Gus Van Sant flick. Affleck is a janitor at a college who is actually a genius. When he starts attending the college himself he butts heads with the yuppies. Robin Williams, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgard costar.
Girl, Interrupted (1999) (Available Until 11/01/12)
(Best Actress in a Supporting Role-Angelina Jolie)
This is the fantastic adaptation of the Susanna Kaysen novel (which I also recommend) about a depressed young woman. She ends up in a mental hospital during the interim between high school and college. The film stars Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy and Jared Leto. There’s no doubt that Jolie is great in this but I always felt like it must have sucked that the press on her performance overshadowed Ryder’s leading role. Ryder’s character is basically just misunderstood and being treated in a sexist manner (though she’s officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder) while Jolie’s character is completely out there.
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) (Available Until 08/01/12)
(Best Actress-Hilary Swank, Best Actress in a Supporting Role-Chloe Sevigny)
Boys Don’t Cry is based on the true story of Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank) who was a trans man (a person who is born female but gender identifies as a man) who falls in love with the pretty Lana (Chloe Sevigny) and the hate crime that follows. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendan Sexton costar.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) (Available Until 07/01/12)
(Best Makeup-Greg Cannom, Ve Neill & Yolanda Toussieng)
I do believe that Mrs. Doubtfire was the first video tape that I ever begged for (and received!) as a birthday gift. Robin Williams (how is he in this post so much anyway?) is a man whose wife (Sally Field) is divorcing him. He’s a struggling actor who is desperate for both a steady job and a way to see his children more often. Of course the best idea is to dress as an elderly woman and become their maid, duh! I rewatched this again not long ago and it’s still great. Pierce Brosnan and Harvey Fierstein costar.
Dirty Dancing (1987) (Available Until 07/01/12)
(Best Original Song-(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life-Franke Previte, John DeNicola & Donald Markowitz)
I wish that I could be nonchalant and say that I don’t even like Dirty Dancing but alas, no, not true at all, I have one of the special edition DVDs and eveything. The late Patrick Swayze stars as the older dance instructor that teen Jennifer Grey falls for, while developing her dirty dancing skills.
The Fly (1986) (Available Until 06/01/12)
(Best Makeup-Chris Walas & Stephan Dupuis)
This David Cronenberg horror film stars ex-married duo Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. It’s about a scientist who accidentally merges his body with a fly.
Misery (1990) (Available Until 05/01/12)
(Best Actress-Kathy Bates)
Kathy Bates stars in this horror movie based on a Stephen King book. She’s an obsessive fan who snaps when her favorite author (James Caan) has stopped writing his huge hit book series that she loves. So she kidnaps and cripples him to force him to write a new book in the series. Lauren Bacall costars as his literary agent.
All About Eve (1950) (Available Until 04/01/12)
(Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role-Anne Baxter, Best Actor in a Supporting Role-George Sanders, Best Director-Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Best Costume Design-Edith Head, Charles Le Maire, Best Screenplay, Best Sound Recording)
This drama stars Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm and Marilyn Monroe. It’s about an aging actress and a young actress who usurps her popularity.
The Age of Innocence (1993) (Available Until 04/01/12)
(Best Costume Design-Gabriella Pescucci)
This is a such a good costume drama. Michelle Pfeiffer is fantastic as woman who is considered to be scandalous because she’s left her husband. Daniel Day Lewis starts seeing her on the side despite being engaged to the adorable young Winona Ryder.
Death Becomes Her (1992) (Not Currently Available)
(Best Visual Effects-Ken Ralston, Doug Chiang, Douglas Smythe & Tom Woodruff Jr.)
Death Becomes Her is definitely a favorite of mine. The stunning Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep star as vanity obsessed women who fight over Bruce Willis. They will do anything to stay young looking, even take a magical potion from Isabella Rossellini. It’s awesome that this movie won for visual effects because they still stand up today.
Beetlejuice (1988) (Not Currently Available)
(Best Makeup-Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte & Robert Short)
Yes, Beetlejuice! A married couple (Geena Davis and an adorabley young/faux nerdy Alec Baldwin) die and discover that they are still trapped in their home. When some annoying yuppies (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) and their gothy teen daughter (Winona Ryder) move in they hire a bio-exorcist to scare them away. They don’t realize that this guy, Betelgeuse, (Michael Keaton) is worse. You don’t know how cool I was when I played a copy of this PG masterpiece at my 6th birthday party.
Toy Story 3 (2010) (Not Currently Available)
(Best Animated Feature Film of the Year-Lee Unkrich, Best Original Song-We Belong Together by Randy Newman)
Toy Story 3 is cry worthy even for adults. When Andy grows up his favorite toys, Woody and Buzz, end up accidentally being thrown out. They arrive at a daycare center with some scary, stern toys and then must escape.
The English Patient (1996) (Not Currently Available)
(Best Picture-Saul Zaentz, Best Director-Anthony Minghella, Best Actor-Ralph Fiennes, Best Actress-Kristin Scott Thomas, Best Actress in a Supporting Role-Juliette Binoche, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published-Anthony Minghella, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration-Stuart Craig & Stephenie McMillan, Best Cinematography-John Seale, Best Costume Design-Ann Roth, Best Film Editing-Walter Murch, Best Original Dramatic Score-Gabriel Yared, Best Sound-Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker & Christopher Newman)
I haven’t watched this in forever, despite it starring the delicious Ralph Fiennes, because it’s depressing. You’re going to want to check it out at least once though. Plot: “At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.” (via IMDB.com) The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe and Colin Firth.