Every year, Netflix gets closer to winning the top prize at the Oscars. In 2019 it was Alfonso Cuarón’s black and white heavyweight Roma; 2020 with Martin Scorsese’s Elegiac The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s heartbreaking history of marriage; and last time with David Fincher’s critical darling Miss and Aaron Sorkin’s snappy courtroom drama The Trial of Chicago 7. Nomadland was ultimately triumphant in 2021, but Netflix took home a total of seven statuettes, the most from any single studio.
The streaming giant has more aces up its sleeve for 2022. Jane Campions The power of the dog is a Best Picture frontrunner and Paolo Sorrentino’s The hand of God is firmly in the mix for best international feature film. Meanwhile, in the acting categories, Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Bumm!) and Ruth Negga (pass) are all heaving.
How many wins will the company rake in on Oscar night? And will it finally win the award it has so far eluded? Ahead of the ceremony, we look back at 15 incredible Netflix films that have garnered industry attention over the past few years, have deservedly been rewarded, and paved the way for these new contenders.
By exploring the life and legacy of Nina Simone, Liz Garbus discovered a deliberately provocative and intensely political musical genius, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary in the process. It’s impossible not to get carried away by the power of their songs and the strength of their character.
Activist Angela Davis, author Jelani Cobb and civil rights activist Michelle Alexander are just a few of the luminaries providing insight into Ava DuVernay’s alarming exposé of historical racism in the US criminal justice system. Stretched out and meticulous, it was nominated for Best Documentary.
Bryan Fogel’s Oscar-winning documentary, in which he meets a loveable whistleblower (Grigory Rodchenkov) and accidentally stumbles upon Russia’s doping scandal, is breathtaking. As they uncover the vast conspiracy, two of his associates are found dead.
Dee Rees was the first black woman to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Rachel Morrison was the first woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography for this powerful historical play. Mary J. Blige also received acclaim for her chameleon-like supporting role and heart-rending original song “Mighty river.”
Six stories about the American frontier – including gunfights, botched robberies and a gold mining expedition – make up Joel and Ethan Coen’s crowd pleaser. It was nominated for its quirky screenplay, intricate costumes, and sad ballad “When a cowboy trades his spurs for wings.”
The closest the streaming giant came to winning Best Picture Yet was Alfonso Cuarón’s monochrome masterpiece about a maid in Mexico City. It walked away with three statuettes from its amazing 10 nominations: for Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film.
Petra Costa’s Oscar-nominated opera documentary uses still aerial footage, amazing archive footage and poetic narratives to trace the fall of two Brazilian presidents and the rise of populism. From corruption investigations to recorded calls, it’s an urgent and unnerving watch.
Years after a General Motors plant closed in Ohio, a Chinese billionaire is bringing new jobs to the area. In Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s nuanced study of what follows, for which they won the Oscar for Best Documentary, cultures collide, friendships are forged and the future remains uncertain.
Unfairly, this thoughtful mob thriller went home empty-handed despite its 10 nominations, including for Martin Scorsese’s flawless direction, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci’s magnetic performances and the groundbreaking visual effects that aged their faces. It’s an extraordinary achievement.
Expertly written and infinitely memorable, Noah Baumbach’s moving account of a relationship in crisis earned Laura Dern an Oscar and received recognition in five other categories, including the spine-tingling twists and turns of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and Randy Newman’s gentle score.
A compelling, revealing account of a recent transition in power, Fernando Meirelles’ monastic drama stars Anthony Hopkins as the grizzled Pope Benedict and Jonathan Pryce as his idealistic successor, Pope Francis. Both were nominated for Oscars alongside Anthony McCarten for his upbeat screenplay.
It was Terence Blanchard’s stirring score that secured Spike Lee’s hallucinatory war epic its only nomination, but it’s worth watching for a number of other reasons too: the sly references to contemporary politics, the genuinely shocking twists and a career-defining twist from Delroy Lindo.
Aaron Sorkin’s true story about a group of anti-war protesters is a riot. It was a contender for best picture, nominated for its atmospheric cinematography, witty screenplay, slick editing, Sacha Baron Cohen’s scene-stealing supporting role, and Celeste’s movement “Hear my voice.”
With the musical melodrama by George C. Wolfe, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson became the first black women to win an Oscar for makeup and hair. It also won the Costume Design award, and Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, and his production designers were also nominated.
Vanessa Kirby’s Oscar-nominated look at a mother grieving the loss of her child in Kornél Mundruczó’s harrowing saga is a tour de force. The amazing 24-minute birth scene – in which her anxious excitement gives way to confusion and horror – will leave you reeling.