Advertisement

5 great Oscar-winning movies you need to watch on Netflix

Two women sit on a bench.
_DSC4795.arw Netflix

When it comes to streaming services, Netflix is still the king. With around 260 million subscribers, Netflix reigns supreme over its competitors thanks to its vast library of licensed content and original programming. Over the past decade, Netflix has become a major player at the Oscars thanks to its prestige dramas. Films like Roma and All Quiet on the Western Front have resonated with the Academy by winning multiple Oscars.

With the 2024 Oscars scheduled for this Sunday, March 10, we gathered some previous Academy Award-winning films to watch on Netflix. Not all of our choices are Netflix originals. Some of our selections are extremely well-known, including a groundbreaking sci-fi blockbuster and a spectacular neo-noir mystery.

Apollo 13 (1995)

Three astronauts are strapped into a spaceship.
Universal Pictures

You’ve heard the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem.” Now, discover its origins in Apollo 13. It’s 1970 and astronauts Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), Fred Haise (Bill Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) are selected for Apollo 13, the fifth crewed mission to the moon. The first couple days of the mission go according to plan. On day three, disaster strikes when an oxygen tank explodes, ending their chances of a moon landing.

With a damaged ship and a dwindling oxygen supply, NASA’s ground personnel, led by flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), must devise a plan to save Apollo 13 and bring the astronauts safely back to Earth. We know the ending, yet director Ron Howard masterfully drums up suspense and tension in this story of bravery and heroism. With a stacked cast and an acute attention to scientific detail, Apollo 13 remains one of the best dramas of the 1990s. Nominated for nine Oscars, Apollo 13 won Best Sound and Best Film Editing.

Stream Apollo 13 on Netflix.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Dr. Grant distracts the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures / Universal Pictures

Leave it to Steven Spielberg to direct one of the most influential techno-thrillers ever created. In Jurassic Park, Spielberg played God and brought dinosaurs to life. In the film, billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) invites a team of scientists – paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) – to inspect his newest creation, Jurassic Park, a theme park full of cloned dinosaurs located on an island near Costa Rica.

At first, the scientists are in awe of the prehistoric creatures. However, a power failure turns Jurassic Park into a house of horrors as the dinosaurs become the hunters and the humans become the hunted. Jurassic Park is largely responsible for starting the CGI revolution. Even as the guinea pig in this scenario, Jurassic Park looks better than most blockbusters in 2024. Unsurprisingly, Jurassic Park won Oscars for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Effects Editing.

Stream Jurassic Park on Netflix.

Marriage Story (2019)

Adam Driver holds a trumpet next to Scarlett Johanson.
Netflix

Depending on where you are in your journey, Marriage Story plays like a painstakingly beautiful drama or an all-too-familiar scenario that mirrors your real life. Either way, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story captures the dissolution of a relationship and how it affects those closest to the couple. Actress Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson) and her stage director husband, Charlie (Adam Driver), are experiencing marital problems. Nicole secures a job in Los Angeles and takes their young son, Henry (Azhy Robertson), while Charlie stays behind in New York City.

Distance only makes it worse, so Nicole and Charlie agree to a divorce. Unfortunately, their problems have only begun as the legal proceedings turn ugly, bringing Nicole and Charlie’s flaws to light. Marriage Story is a difficult watch, but your uneasiness will be rewarded thanks to Baumbach’s compassionate script and two moving performances from Johansson and Driver. While the two leads are terrific, Laura Dern steals the show as Nora Fanshaw, a role for which she won Best Supporting Actress at the 2020 Oscars.

Stream Marriage Story on Netflix.

Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.
Paramount Pictures

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Chinatown was already a brilliant script, but having a line as memorable as that only adds to its prestige. In 1930s Los Angeles, private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by a blonde woman named “Evelyn Mulwray” to follow her husband Hollis I. Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling), an engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power whom she suspects of infidelity. Jake’s initial investigation reveals an imposter hired him to follow Hollis, who may or may not be involved in a government conspiracy to control the water.

Things are further complicated when Jake meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) and her potentially corrupt father, Noah Cross (John Huston). Chinatown is the perfect noir, backed by intrigue and mystery, and featuring shocking twists in every act. It’s often cited as one of the greatest crime movies ever. Chinatown received 11 Oscar nominations, with Robert Towne winning for his screenplay.

Stream Chinatown on Netflix.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

A woman and man walk down the street while holding coffee.
Universal Pictures

In basketball, there’s a term known as “clear out,” where one offensive player gets the ball, and the rest of the team spreads out to give them space to operate and score a basket. If this were the 1996 Bulls, Michael Jordan would get the ball on a clear out as his teammates cleared the middle of the floor so the best basketball player could score a basket. Applying this situation to Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts is Jordan. Director Steven Soderbergh allows Roberts to carry the move on her back with her talent, charisma, and infectious personality.

Erin Brockovich (Roberts) is an unemployed single mother of three who coerces her way into a job as a legal assistant at a law firm owned by Ed Masry (Albert Finney). While browsing through files, Erin discovers medical records in a real estate case, which raises her suspicion. After an initial investigation, Erin discovers that residents in a nearby community are suffering from deadly illnesses due to water contamination from a California power company. The same company is intentionally covering up its illegal activities.

Despite a lack of legal experience, Erin spearheads a class-action lawsuit against the power company. Erin Brockovich is a triumphant legal drama and an acting showcase for Roberts, who went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress.

Stream Erin Brockovich on Netflix.