12 Oscar-winning Films Worth Watching

Tuesday, Mar 01, 2016 06:22 AM

By Carla de Guzman and Trish Lim

Oscar season and the Academy Awards may be over, but that doesn't mean the cinematic magic has to end. Throughout 88 years, the Academy has given us a long list of excellent films that are a delight to watch - not just once, but more than enough times to have us memorize the lines and the opening songs. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorite Oscar-winning classics that are worth watch over and over again!

Casablanca (1943)

Starring A-list stars like Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid, this American studio film’s value was actually underplayed and went unnoticed due to the large volume of movies being produced by Hollywood at the time. Only when it won three Academy awards (Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay) did it gain any traction. The film aged well, owing to its memorable lines and iconic characters, and is now considered as a cinematic masterpiece.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Three World War II veterans return to their home towns in America and discover how the war altered the lives of its inhabitants, including their family and friends. Described as one of the best films, if not the best, about post-war era, it captures the physical, emotional and psychological damages that veterans endure then and today.

All About Eve (1950)

The film tells the story of an aspiring actress (Anne Baxter) who appeals to the kindness of a Broadway mega-star (Bette Davis) and turns out to be a backstabbing social climber who will do anything to get to the top. Wonderfully witty with clever, well-written dialogue, the film received six Academy awards and made its way up to #16 on American Film Institute’s 1998 list of the 100 best American films. Plus points for being the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations! 

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West Side Story (1961)

Ill-fated love, rival gangs engaged in showstopping choreography, and beautifully sung melodies - what’s not to love about this musical film? Nominated for eleven Academy awards and winning ten (it is the record holder for the most wins for a movie musical), the story of the star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, combined with Sondheim/Bernstein charming music make it a captivating adaptation of Shakespear's most famous love story.

My Fair Lady (1964)

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‘The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain!’ This movie was under a lot of controversy before it even began. Crowds were upset that the role of Eliza Doolittle was given to then very famous Audrey Hepburn, instead of Julie Andrews, who played the role on Broadway. (Hepburn ended up not singing some of the songs herself.) Some of the movie’s twists and turns may be unfeminist to the modern viewer (I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face irked me more than I would like), but there’s a reason why people still remember the plot line enough to create a TV series in 2015 about it (hello, Selfie!)

The Godfather (1972) 

Most or all of the movie buffs declare that the Godfather trilogy is the best gangster film one will ever see. This is the movie that started it all. The story is brilliant; it just sweeps you away with its complexity. Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone and young Al Pacino as Michael provide fantastic contrast to the kind of mafia bosses they became and must be. 

The Sting (1973) 

A fun, easy movie, there was a lot of great chemistry between Robert Redford and Paul Newman when they played a pair of con men. Many forget the movie because it won in between the two Godfather films, but it was a welcome movie that was complex as it was exciting. 

Titanic (1997)

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard yet, Leonardo DiCaprio finally got an Oscar! *pops open a bottle of champagne* To celebrate this much-awaited, long-overdue win, why don’t we watch the film that made us all fall in love with him and cry our hearts out when he uttered those four heartbreaking words? This one is for you, Leo - thanks for never letting go.

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Chicago (2002)

The early 2000s was the year of the musical, as Chicago grabbed Best Picture a couple of years after Moulin Rouge was released. Renee Zellweger plays Roxie Hart, an aspiring jazz singer who kills a man with whom she was having an affair, and has to go to court. Stellar jazz performances and an amusing rivalry between Roxie and vaudeville star Velma Kelly never fail to entertain. Catherine Zeta-Jones as the latter steals the show!

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The King’s Speech (2010)

Brilliantly acted and moving for some, the King’s Speech wasn’t considered a very ‘remarkable’ movie when compared to the other nominees like Black Swan, Inception or even Toy Story 3. But the story of a real English king with a speech impediment (played brilliantly by Colin Firth) and trained by Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), satisfied crowds and received top honours at that year’s awards. 

12 Years a Slave (2013)

An adaptation of a slave narrative memoir by Solomon Northup, it tells the story of an African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. When it was released in 2013, the film was met with overwhelming praise, earning both critical and commercial success. Even before awards night, 12 Years a Slave had already proven to be a favorite and was declared by most as the best film of that year. 

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Birdman (2015)

This comedy-drama features Michael Keaton as a once-famous superhero movie actor (just like Michael Keaton himself) trying to regain the spotlight by making it big in Broadway. Birdman offers us a glimpse into the self-obsessed minds of celebrities, represented by a cast of characters that are annoying, delusional, and sometimes downright crazy, yet – somehow – still charming and loveable. While the film’s subject might strike some as mundane, the movie is elevated by fantastic videography and editing (giving the illusion that the entire movie was shot in one take), as well as superb directing from Alejandro Inarritu, who also happens to be the director of 2015’s The Revenant.

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