The Oscar Project
So I called an audible this month with this post. Going through the list of Oscar nominated films coming to Netflix, it was rather sparse, including only four films.
In order to boost the post a little bit, I am also including information on three films that are entered in the categories of Best Animated Feature or Best International Feature but may or may not make it to the short lists for those categories.
There is also one film coming out this month which is pretty much a 100% shoe in for multiple nominations if not multiple wins come Oscar time.
Grease (1978) - For all those girls that grew up in the late 70s and early 80s, Grease seems to have been a mainstay of the movies they would watch when they got together for sleepovers. Heck, it even includes a sleepover scene in the film!
Adapted from the 1971 musical of the same name, Grease was part of a series of breakout roles for John Travolta while also vaulting co-star Olivia Newton-John to stardom. Set during the high school year, Travolta plays Danny Zuko, member of a hip gang of gearheads who had a summer fling with Newton-John's "good girl" Sandy Olsson. They broke things off before school started, but end up re-kindling their relationship despite coming from different friend groups.
With the famous musical numbers throughout the film and the climactic race that finishes the film and proclaims Danny the hero, there is something for just about everyone in this film.
Surprisingly, the film only received one Oscar nomination at the time, for Best Original Song ("Hopelessly Devoted to You" by John Farrar) which lost to "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday.
Sling Blade (1996) - I missed Sling Blade when it first hit theaters, but watched this with my wife several years ago on a DVD with a bunch of extra bonus features, and I have to admit I had underestimated Billy Bob Thornton up to that point. I had seen him in films like Armageddon, Primary Colors, and Bandits, but seeing him completely transform into the character of Karl Childers for this film was astounding.
There was a feature on the DVD with behind the scenes footage of Thornton where he was in director mode prepping a shot, talking in a normal Thornton voice while looking at the camera angles. Once it was time to shoot the scene, he scrunched up his face, hunched his back, and dropped his shoulders all in one fluid motion, and instantly Thornton was gone, replaced by Childers.
Thornton himself received two Oscar nominations for this film. He was nominated for Best Actor and won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Matrix (1999) - I first wrote this film up back in March for the April post and didn't give it the full credit it was due.
The film was groundbreaking at the time and still holds up incredibly well today, 20 years later! While no one in this film was going to get nominated for acting awards, it was a shoe in for things in multiple technical categories. And while the two sequels were not nominated for any Oscars, all three films will be available on the streaming service this month. The first film is by far the best of the three, but if you want the full story, you can check them all out.
The Matrix won in every Oscar category it was nominated for, including Best Film Editing (Zach Staenberg), Best Sound (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, David Campbell, and David Lee), Best Sound Effects Editing (Dane A. Davis), and Best Visual Effects (John Gaeta, Janek Sirrs, Steve Courtley, and Jon Thum).
District 9 (2009) - Telling the story of racial segregation and oppression that was rampant in apartheid era South Africa through the lens of an alien race confined to their own "district" in Johannesburg, this film is one that is a must watch.
Presented as a "found footage" style narrative with fictional interviews, news footage, and other in world camera work, one of the aliens tries to escape from District 9 with his son and the government must deal with the situation.
Produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Neil Blomkamp, the film was nominated for the Oscars for Best Film Editing (Julian Clarke), Best Visual Effects (Dan Jaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, and Matt Aitken), Best Adapted Screenplay (Blonkamp and Terri Tatchell), and Best Picture.
Klaus (2019) - Not yet released theatrically for an Oscar qualifying run in the United States, Klaus has already been submitted to the list of films under consideration for Best Animated Feature.
Telling the story of a rookie postal worker named Jesper who fails out of the postal academy who finds a mysterious carpenter (Klaus) who lives alone and makes handmade toys. By forging a friendship with the toymaker, he promises to deliver the toys to the children of the area, dropping them in the stocking hung by the chimney.
The film looks beautiful and has voice talent including J. K. Simmons (Klaus), Jason Schwartzman (Jasper), and Joan Cusack. Director Sergio Pablos has worked on Disney films including Hercules and Tarzan. These factors make it a decent contender for a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category, though a win is highly unlikely.
The Irishman (2019) - If you're a Martin Scorsese fan, this is the film you've been waiting your whole life for. The story follows mob hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (Robert De Niro), his involvement with the Bufalino crime family, and eventually his time working for Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pachino).
The film itself has been beset by delays and budget issues throughout years of production. Recent articles have talked about how the actors look in scenes where they have been digitally de-aged to look like younger versions of themselves. Netflix has been in fights with theaters including AMC over refusal to show the film, because the theaters know it will only end up on the streaming service a few weeks later.
If you want to get a wonderful review of the film, check out Adnan Virk's Cinephile podcast episode about the film. Virk is about as die hard a Scorsese fan as you can get, so there was a chance that he would either absolutely love it or absolutely hate it.
Again, the film hasn't been nominated for any Oscars yet, but rest assured it will get nominations for Best Director (Scorsese), Best Picture, Best Actor (probably De Niro), Best Supporting Actor (Pachino or Joe Peschi or maybe even both), Best Adapted Screenplay (Steven Zaillian) along with a host of others. There is a strong chance that the film sets a new record for total nominations and maybe even wins. The other wildcard is that voters may vote against the film simply because of the Netflix distribution and it won't win anything.
Atlantics (2019) - History making as the first film directed by a black woman to be featured In Competition at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Atlantics (or Atlantique) has been submitted to the Best International Film category from the African nation of Senegal.
The story is one of unpaid construction workers deserting the glistening building their are working on in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. One of the workers leaves his lover behind, unaware that she is engaged to another man.
This is only the second submission from Senegal, the first being two years ago for Félicité. The previous entry did not receive an official nomination, but did make the shortlist of nine films considered for the nomination.
I Lost My Body (2019) - Another film that premiered at Cannes earlier this year arrives on Netflix the same day. This time another animated film, this one from France.
While I doubt this film will end up getting a nomination, it has already won a few prizes including the Nespresso Grand Prize at Cannes and two awards at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
If you're looking to get a heads start on the animated films before the short list is announced, here is your chance.
Leaving in November
I'm doing my best to stay on top of this post each month so here is the list of films you need to catch soon before they go off of Netflix, at least for now.
Leaving November 1st
As Good as It Gets (1997) - Nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score with wins for Best Actor and Best Actress.
Little Women (1994) - Nominated for three Oscars (Best Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score) with no wins in any category.
The Bishop's Wife (1947) - Nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director with a win for Best Sound.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - Nominated for an astonishing 11 Oscars, with a sweep of all 11 categories including Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) - Nominated for six Oscars with wins for Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.
The Sixth Sense (1999) - Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, but failed to win any awards.
Leaving November 25th
Boyhood (2014) - Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director and winning for Best Supporting Actress.
Leaving October 29th
Coco (2017) - Nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, winning in both categories. (Spanish version)
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?