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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Thirteen 2020 Oscar-Winning Films You Should Watch Immediately

Catch up on the best films of the last year, from historic winner 'Parasite' to two films you can stream on Netflix right now.
By Sarah Ward
February 10, 2020
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Thirteen 2020 Oscar-Winning Films You Should Watch Immediately

Catch up on the best films of the last year, from historic winner 'Parasite' to two films you can stream on Netflix right now.
By Sarah Ward
February 10, 2020
  shares

This year's Oscars belonged to one man, much like the last year in cinema has. It doesn't happen all that often, but the best film of the past twelve months dominated the Academy Awards — as did the filmmaker behind it. By winning Best Picture, Bong Joon-ho's Parasite became the first movie in a language other than English to do so. Let that sink in: it's the first film to score the top prize in the Oscars' 92-year run. By winning four trophies, all of which went to Bong thanks to his work as the movie's director, co-writer and co-producer, Parasite also became this year's most awarded feature.

Given that before 2020, a South Korean film had never even been nominated for an Oscar — not even in the Best International Feature category — Bong well and truly made history. What a delight it was to see him so overwhelmed by the recognition, whether paying tribute to Martin Scorsese, a filmmaker he himself studied in film school, or thanking Quentin Tarantino for championing his movies from the get-go. How relatable it was, too, to hear Bong reveal his post-Oscars plans several times: "I will drink until the next morning".

Still, while Parasite deservedly came out on top, 2020's ceremony spread the love across a heap of worthy films. A whopping 14 features won gongs, ranging from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Judy and Rocketman's respective renderings of showbiz history to Taika Waititi's 'anti-hate' comedy Jojo Rabbit — with the latter making him the first Maori person to win an Oscar.

Among the other highlights: Janelle Monae and Billy Porter wowing everyone with a lively song-and-dance number right out of the gate, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig demonstrating that they would've killed it if they'd emceed the host-less ceremony, and Chris Rock mentioning how vaginas are missing from the director's nominees this year. Among the oddities: Eminem taking to the stage to sing his 2003 Oscar-winner 'Lose Yourself' for some unknown reason.

That's the ceremony done and dusted. Now, if you haven't already, it's time to enjoy all the flicks that just received shiny accolades. From the second movie to nab an actor a prize for playing the Joker, to two Netflix films you can stream right now, here are all of the winners that you should add to your viewing list.

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PARASITE

Won: Best Picture (Kwak Sin-ae and Bong Joon-ho, producers), Best Director (Bong Joon-ho), Best Original Screenplay (Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won), Best International Feature Film

Our thoughts: "Bong Joon-ho has crafted a bleak, twisty blend of black tragi-comedy, pulsating thrills and socially relevant horror — a movie that's such a phenomenal example of all that cinema can and should be that you'll want to high-five the filmmaker after watching it... This isn't just a killer picture on all of the standard levels, however. Contemplating society's growing class collisions and inequities, Parasite also makes a killer statement."

Where to watch it: In cinemas, still — and it's also available to rent or buy on DVD.

Read the full review.

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Won: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Brad Pitt), Best Production Design (production design: Barbara Ling; set decoration: Nancy Haigh)

Our thoughts: "Incessantly keen to splash his affection for celluloid history across the screen as always, Quentin Tarantino is in his element recreating Hollywood's golden days, its big names and LA's gleaming sights, and nodding to westerns once again. But, befitting a flick about weathering seismic personal, cultural and societal shifts, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood is a glorious character piece first and foremost."

Where to watch it: Available to rent or buy on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and DVD.

Read our full review

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1917

Won: Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Sound Mixing (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson), Best Visual Effects (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy)

Our thoughts: "The storytelling gimmickry is obvious, jamming in chaos and peril across a wealth of scenarios, but the overall impact is inescapably immense and heartbreakingly intense. What Dunkirk did for a pivotal World War II event, 1917 does just as commandingly for an entire earlier war."

Where to watch it: In cinemas.

Read our full review.

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JUDY

Won: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Renee Zellweger)

Our thoughts: "Stepping into a famous figure's shoes might be one of acting's most difficult feats, especially when that person is cinema royalty, but Renee Zellweger doesn't ever feel like she's just impersonating Judy Garland. Rather, she wears Garland's ruby slippers as if they're her own — and they fit perfectly."

Where to watch it: Available to rent or buy on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and DVD.

Read our full review.

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JOKER

Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Original Score (Hildur Guðnadóttir)

Our thoughts: "Joker is unflinchingly bold and brilliant in one inescapable fashion, as it was bound to be when it cast its lead. All skin, bone and sinew as he cavorts, frolics and chortles, Joaquin Phoenix is in stunning, mesmerising, awards-worthy form yet again. His raspy cackle isn't easily forgotten; neither is his off-kilter demeanour." 

Where to watch it: Available to rent or buy on YouTube, Google Play and DVD.

Read our full review

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MARRIAGE STORY

Won: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Laura Dern)

Our thoughts: "While Marriage Story does indeed tell the tale of a marriage, this devastatingly astute and empathetic drama does so within a portrait of the relationship's dying days and its rocky aftermath... In his ever-perceptive way, Noah Baumbach hones in on figures whose lives are a shambles, then watches as they natter their way forward — revealing their fragile core while revelling in the minutiae of their existence."

Where to watch it: On Netflix.

Read our full review

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LITTLE WOMEN

Won: Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran)

Our thoughts: "Greta Gerwig works wonders with her script and her actors — tasks that might seem easy, but still bear her fingerprints — however she also directs a visually sumptuous film. Little Women sparkles with warmth and charm, not only when dresses catch alight and catastrophic haircuts inspire laughs, but across tender and heartbreaking moments."

Where to watch it: In cinemas.

Read our full review.

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AMERICAN FACTORY

Won: Best Documentary

Our thoughts: The first film produced for Netflix by Barack and Michelle Obama, fly-on-the-wall documentary American Factory tackles a subject of paramount importance — not just to the former President and First Lady's own country, but worldwide. Across three years, directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert chronicled the operations of a Chinese-owned plant in Ohio, crafting an eye-opening portrait of the human impact of the global economy.

Where to watch it: On Netflix.

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TOY STORY 4

Won: Best Animated Feature Film

Our thoughts: "Reflective, sweet, sensitive and virtually guaranteed to wring a response out of even the most cynical of viewers, Toy Story 4 is a classic Pixar piece... At its best, this saga is as imaginative, amusing and fun as it is thoughtful, with bright, bouncy animation to match — and, returning to the heights of the first film, the franchise is at its best again here."

Where to watch it: Available to rent or buy on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and DVD.

Read our full review

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ROCKETMAN

Won: Best Original Song ("(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again — music by Elton John, lyrics by Bernie Taupin)

Our thoughts: "There's a vibrant spark to Rocketman as it charts Reginald Dwight's transformation into Elton Hercules John. A glorious tone, too, which couldn't work better. Showing how fantastical the ups and downs of fame, fortune and rock stardom can be by sashaying through a sea of surreality, the result is a winning marriage of form and feeling."

Where to watch it: Available to rent or buy on iTunes, YouTube, Google Play and DVD.

Read our full review

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JOJO RABBIT

Won: Best Adapted Screenplay (Taika Waititi)

Our thoughts: "Waititi's irreverent, irrepressible sense of humour is usually a delight (see: his aforementioned films, plus What We Do in the Shadows and Thor Ragnarok), but Jojo Rabbit is at its best when it actually dials back the gags, mockery and pointed current-day parallels, and instead hones in on its central trio in less overt moments."  

Where to watch it: In cinemas.

Read our full review

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FORD V FERRARI

Won: Best Film Editing (Andrew Buckland and Michael McCusker), Best Sound Editing (Donald Sylvester)

Our thoughts: A car-racing film that branches beyond speeding vehicles driving in circles around a track, Ford v Ferrari is more than just a dramatised account of two automotive companies battling it out in a prestigious race, too. With particular thanks to Christian Bale's performance as British driver and engineer Ken Miles, this is a celebration of smarts, hard work and ingenuity — and one that's engaging, thrilling and superb on a technical level as well.

Where to watch it: In cinemas.

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BOMBSHELL

Won: Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker)

Our thoughts: "Bombshell is the slick, shiny version of a ripped-from-the-headlines story, which earned global attention when it broke back in 2016. Airbrushed to buffer away blemishes and avoid tricky spots, it's watered down to deliver an easy, glossy, simplified narrative. "

Where to watch it: In cinemas.

Read our full review

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Top image: Parasite.

Published on February 10, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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