Awards season is here and there are plenty of nominated and gong-laden films that you should roll out the streaming red carpet for.
The film industry awards season is in full swing, with the nominees list for the Academy Awards already announced ahead of the Oscars ceremony itself in March. While gongs aren’t the be-all and end-all of quality moviemaking, they can be useful pointers when choosing what to watch from the heaving library available on Amazon Prime Video.
Here’s our selection of award-nominated and award-winning films worth watching.
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Everything Everywhere All At Once
Up for 11 Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards, Everything Everywhere All At Once almost defies categorisation. This dazzlingly inventive film straddles martial arts, sci-fi, family drama and comedy. All while deftly depicting topics and issues such as nihilism, existentialism, hope, despair, love, LGBT+ acceptance and the experiences of immigrants. We won’t spoil the plot for you, but we challenge you to watch this film and not come away beaming and skipping.
Licorice Pizza isn’t the latest hipster food trend, but a sweet and tender coming-of-age romance film with a hearty dollop of 1970s period flair. This latest effort by director Paul Thomas Anderson was woefully underappreciated at the box office, despite melodic performances from musician-actors Haim and Tom Waits. Take a squint and decide for yourself if it’s worthy of its many BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
Good Luck To You, Leo Grande
Not a film for the prudish, this comedy drama stars Emma Thompson as a widow seeking to end a lifetime of sexual unfulfilment by enlisting the services of a male escort. Witty and compassionate, rather than leering and crass, this is an uncommon portrayal of female sexuality in middle age. Thompson, already a national treasure, delivers a frank and earnest performance that has rightly earned her both BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
If you’re in the mood for some twisted spine-chilling dread, horror film Men should be up next on your watchlist. Jessie Buckley plays a widow on a country break, attempting to deal with her emotional trauma. Except there’s something deeply wrong with her Hertfordshire village getaway – all of the local men have the same face. Rory Kinnear’s unnerving and menacing performances as the eponymous antagonists has, with the exception of a few indie awards, gone criminally underappreciated.
La La Land
Infamous for being accidentally awarded the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture, it’s easy to forget that La La Land is a barnstorming flick in its own right. A lilting romance set in Los Angeles with expertly choreographed song-and-dance, it makes you pine after even more musicals. Plus, just as remarkably, the city of LA itself becomes a character, taking on a gauzy amorous air usually reserved in cinema for Paris or New York.
The Iron Giant
Although an adaptation of Ted Hughes’ beloved novel The Iron Man (unrelated to the Marvel character), this animated treasure was a box office flop on its original release and picked up only a few BAFTA and Hugo awards. It has since gained a cult following though and it’s not hard to see why. Lovingly animated, kids will love it for its seemingly simple story of a boy befriending a giant alien robot. Adults will find it to be a multi-layered treat dealing with issues of paranoia, acceptance and grief. First-time director Brad Bird would go on to even greater creative heights, directing smash hits for Pixar.
Despite being cruelly overlooked early on in his career, Michael Keaton has gone on rightly to earn gongs and nominations aplenty. The star still has his share of little-known gems though, such as biopic The Founder. This telling of the ruthless origin story behind the rise of McDonald’s sticks in your mind so much, you’ll never look at a Big Mac in quite the same way ever again.
Ben Affleck is better known for being the subject of memes and tabloid gossip about his personal life than his directorial skills. This is a real shame given his work on films such as The Town. Although this heist flick is a touch too derivative of Heat in places, its intense performances and action sequences rightly nabbed it a truckload of nominations back in 2010/2011.