5 Netflix movies to watch instead of the 2024 Oscars

A man points as another man sits in a tank in Fury.

It’s March, which means there are two kinds of “madness” going on in popular culture: the “March Madness” in basketball, and the different kind of madness that is this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. That’s right, the 2024 Oscars is about to happen, and while it has its fair share of fans, not everyone wants to know who won Best Picture or who wore it best.

If you’re one of those people, we have you covered. No, we won’t do your taxes, but we can recommend five great Netflix movies to stream while the Oscars are being broadcast. From a 2024 fantasy that features a fire-spewing dragon to an underrated comic book movie starring 2024 Oscar nominee Emma Stone, these films are guaranteed to entertain you while you ignore the pomp and circumstance of Hollywood’s biggest night.

Need more Oscar recommendations? Check out how to watch the 2024 Oscars for free, 2024 Oscar predictions, 10 biggest Oscar snubs ever, 10 best Oscar-winning movies ever, 10 most Oscar-nominated movies ever, and 5 great Oscar-winning movies on Amazon Prime Video.

Damsel (2024)

A young woman is stuck in a blue cave in Damsel.

Brand new to Netflix is Damsel, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo‘s dark re-imagining of the “damsel in distress” fantasy trope. The movie stars Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown as Princess Elodie, the titular damsel who agrees to marry a handsome prince (Nick Robinson) to help her destitute village. Yet something sinister lurks behind the prince’s offer, and Elodie soon discovers that a blind date in the fantasy genre can be deadly. Did I mention there’s a fire-breathing dragon involved in all of this?

Damsel won’t win any Oscars, but it will win you over with its high concept, no-nonsense heroine, and impressive special effects. Brown is typically solid as Elodie, who transforms into a medieval Ellen Ripley as she realizes she must survive on her own and slay a dragon, and the supporting cast, which includes Robin Wright, Angela Bassett, and Ray Winstone, is decent.

Voyagers (2021)

Two people sit next to each other in Voyagers.

Voyagers‘ premise is deceptively simple: A climate-ravaged Earth has become uninhabitable in the near future, so a team of astrophysicists sends a ship full of children plus one adult protector on an 86-year-long space flight to a recently discovered hospitable planet. During the journey, however, the passengers, now fully grown teens, discover their sole adult supervisor has been killed. Who did it? Was it an alien? Or was it one of human voyagers with an axe to grind?

Forgotten due to its COVID-19 pandemic release, Voyagers is a decent B-level sci-fi thriller that has a straightforward plot, charismatic leads (Tye Sheridan, Lily Rose-Depp, and Fionn Whitehead act all mopey and hormonal as the shuttle passengers), and the ending, while a tad predictable, is satisfying. Voyagers is decently suspenseful, and it even has a good, if brief, appearance by The Banshees of Inisherin‘s Colin Farrell, who is always a welcome addition to any movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

A woman tends to a man in The Amazing Spider-Man.

At this point, even die-hard comic fans have superhero fatigue. After enduring the consecutive disasters of The Marvels, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Madame Web, it’s easy to understand why. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that in the last 15 years, we lived in a golden age of comic book films. One of the more underrated releases in this period was The Amazing Spider-Man, a moderately successful reboot that unfortunately spawned one of the worst sequels ever.

Andrew Garfield is Spider-Man in this iteration, and he and Emma Stone (as Spidey’s squeeze, Gwen Stacy) are the best thing about the movie. Both stars are investigating strange sci-fi shenanigans at Oscorp, a stand-in for Big Pharma that’s been covertly conducting illegal genetic testing. Dr. Curt Connors, Peter’s mentor, is somehow involved in all of this, and comic fans know Connors eventually turns into the fearsome The Lizard. The Amazing Spider-Man is enjoyably hokey, with a truly outstanding final sequence involving Spidey, the NYC skyline, and a bunch of construction cranes.

Fury (2014)

Men stand around a tank in Fury.

Netflix has an unusually good selection of war movies. Operation Mincemeat, Munich: The Edge of War, and others are all great choices to satiate that WWII fix, but the best of the bunch is David Ayer’s Fury, a movie starring Brad Pitt, a bunch of manly men, and a big ol’ tank. Who could ask for anything more?

In the waning days of World War II, the Allies make their final push toward Berlin to temper the Nazi resistance once and for all. To attempt to expedite V-E Day, grizzled vet Wardaddy (Pitt) leads a Sherman tank and her five-man crew behind treacherous enemy lines. As they attempt to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany, Wardaddy’s crew finds itself outnumbered and outgunned by superior German tank tech, leaving their skill and experience as their only advantage.

Shortcomings (2023)

Two people sit in a café in Shortcomings.

The first few months of the new year are always a good time to catch up on movies you may have missed in 2023, and Shortcomings probably qualifies. The film premiered quietly in the waning days of summer and got swallowed up by the Barbenheimer phenomenon.

Shortcomings tells the story of Ben (Justin H. Min), a struggling filmmaker living in Berkeley, California with his girlfriend, Miko (Ally Maki). When Miko moves away, Ben experiences an existential crisis that is alleviated somewhat by his comical talks with his best friend Alice (Sherry Cola). Shortcomings doesn’t have a lot of plot, but what it does have is good vibes and a perceptive look at modern relationships. If you like Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, you’ll like Shortcomings.