5 Oscar-Winning Movies You Should Watch

These hidden gems possess a unique charm and artistic integrity that resonate deeply with audiences, offering a refreshing departure from the conventional narratives.
Published: March 12, 2024
Photo: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

And just like that, the Oscars returned to celebrate the pinnacle of cinematic excellence, honouring the best of the best in filmmaking from around the globe. This year, the nominees represent a diverse array of talent, storytelling, and innovation, promising audiences a captivating journey through the world of cinema.

Related article: The Internet’s Best Reactions to Ryan Gosling’s ‘I’m Just Ken’ Performance at the Oscars

While some films have garnered widespread attention and dominated headlines with their star-studded casts and blockbuster budgets, there's a particular allure to the underdog winners that often go unnoticed amidst the fervour of the more predictable contenders. These hidden gems possess a unique charm and artistic integrity that resonate deeply with audiences, offering a refreshing departure from the conventional narratives and tropes that often dominate the silver screen.

Here are five that deserve a watch, if you haven’t already.

The Holdovers

Photo: Courtesy of Focus Features

Synopsis: Directed by Alexander Payne (of Sideways fame), The Holdovers tells the story of a disgruntled teacher, played by Paul Giamatti, stuck at a New England all-boys boarding school over Christmas break to supervise a small group of students with no other plans. As the days pass, he forges an unexpected connection with one of the students, a troubled yet intelligent troublemaker portrayed by newcomer Dominic Sessa, as well as with the school's head cook, who is grieving the loss of her son in Vietnam, portrayed by Da'Vine Joy Randolph, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in this movie.

Why watch it: Watch this movie for simple endearing storytelling, great acting, directing and cinematography with stylings that hearken back to the groovy 1970s. The complex nature of the characters makes this piece delightfully sad, touching and funny at the same time, where we find ourselves rooting for the underdogs.

Poor Things

Photo: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Synopsis: From the creative minds of filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes an extraordinary Frankenstein-inspired narrative unveiling the enchanting journey of Bella Baxter (played by Stone), a young woman who is revived by the brilliant yet unconventional scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (portrayed by Willem Dafoe). Protected by Baxter, Bella's thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. Yearning for experiences beyond her sheltered existence, Bella embarks on a spontaneous escapade with Duncan Wedderburn (depicted by Mark Ruffalo), a suave and libertine attorney, traversing continents in a whirlwind adventure. Embracing a world free from societal constraints, Bella becomes resolute in her quest for equality and freedom.

Why watch it: Poor Things has won four Oscars for Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Production Design. Suffice to say, it will compel you with its bizarre storyline and whimsical McQueen-inspired style sensibilities.

Related article: Why Gigi Hadid Isn’t Attending the 2024 Oscars With Bradley Cooper

Anatomy of a Fall

Photo: Courtesy of The Projector Sg

Synopsis: Winner of Best Original Screenplay, Anatomy of a Fall is a French courtroom drama written by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari (her real-life partner) about a woman who is accused of killing her husband, where the only witness is their visually-impaired son. Did he jump or was he pushed? The emotional thriller reveals an unsettling psychological journey into the depths of the couple’s conflicted relationship.

Why watch it: It reminds us of a modern-day Hitchcock thriller with the stylings of Gone Girl. Although a little draggy in parts, it’s surprisingly gripping for a film that is devoid of typical murder mystery plot twists.

American Fiction

Photo: Courtesy of MGM/YouTube

Synopsis: Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Fiction is a satire based on Percival Everett’s book Erasure that follows a jaded novelist (played by Jeffrey Wright) whose outlandish book on Black stereotypes suddenly finds success – and thrusts him into a world full of insanity and hypocrisy.

Why watch it: The deadpan humour is silly and many times laugh-out-loud hilarious, but the show really shines a thought-provoking light on how Black culture often gets reduced to painful clichés.

The Boy and the Heron

Photo: Courtesy of The Projector Singapore

Synopsis: A captivating fantasy adventure emerges from the renowned Studio Ghibli and the talented Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (known for Spirited Away). Following the loss of his mother during the war, young Mahito relocates to his family's countryside estate. There, a sequence of enigmatic occurrences leads him to an ancient and secluded tower, inhabited by a playful grey heron. Guided by the bird, Mahito embarks on an extraordinary journey, unravelling the mysteries of this world and confronting the truths about himself.

Why watch it: Japanese manga master Miyazaki, 83, came out of retirement for this hand-drawn beauty about his own life growing up in wartime. Visually, The Boy and the Heron is just as stunning as any of Studio Ghibli’s films, and deserving of its Best Animated Feature win.

Related article: Oscars 2024: There Was a Clear and Unexpected Dress Code on the Red Carpet

Stay ahead of the latest news, hottest trends, and dopest drops.
Subscription Form