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20 Oscar-Winning Movies Of The Century You Shouldn't Miss

By Trishi Dhingra

Updated - July 16, 2021 10 min read

"Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost" but thank god we have our whole life to watch them. Films have become an integral part of our lives. No conversation between like-minded people is ever complete without discussing their favourite movies and TV series. Well, that's the magic of motion pictures. Just like books, they transport you to another world and sometimes leave you there. 


Since 1929, critics at the Academy Awards have been helping audiences sort legendary films from the great ones. Lucky for you, we combined a list of the 20 oscar-winning movies of the century you cannot afford to miss. 


Parasite (2020)


Director: Bong Joon-Ho


Star Cast: Song Kang-ho, Sun-Kyun Lee, Choi Woo-Sik, So-dam Park, Cho Yeo-Jeong, Lee Jung Eun, Chang Hyae Jin


A South Korean dark comedy thriller directed by Bong Joon-Ho, made headlines at the 2020 Oscars. The movie revolves around the poor Kim family struggling to make ends meet. The story takes an unusual turn when this family infiltrates a wealthy household posing as highly qualified individuals and discover something they weren't supposed to. Parasite is a movie with a plot so twisted that you might never find a way back out of this. A remarkable achievement you shouldn't miss. 


Image Courtesy: IMDb


Green Book (2019)


Director: Peter Farrelly


Star Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini


Inspired by a real story, Green Book is a biographical comedy-drama based on true friendship. Yes, the kind that will make you fall in love with your best friend all over again. Set in 1962, Don Shirly, an African-American classical & jazz pianist, is accompanied by Italian-American Tony Lip, a former bouncer, on his tour to the deep south in a car. TBH, this oscar-winning movie is a bumpy ride towards unexpected events worth watching.

Green Book

Image Courtesy: Smithsonian Magazine


The Shape Of Water (2018)


Director: Guillermo del Toro


Star Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg


A connection beyond imagination and emotions one can't weave into words, The Shape Of Water is a romantic dark fantasy film that revolves around a mute cleaner working in a secret science facility in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland ― who come across a Humanoid Amphibian Creature in the vicinity ― who changes her life. 

The Shape Of water

Image Courtesy: IndieWire



Moonlight (2017)


Director: Barry Jenkins


Star Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Alex R. Hibbert


Moonlight is a coming-of-age drama based on Chiron and his three stages of life - youth, adolescence and early adulthood. If the protagonist's struggle with his sexuality and identity doesn't make you weep then I am sure the emotional and physical abuse he goes through will definitely make you grab a tissue or two. 


Image Courtesy: Medium


Spotlight (2016)


Director: Tom McCarthy


Star Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James


Starring Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, this brilliant film by Tom McCarthy is an investigative drama about journalists uncovering the truth. Based on true events, the Oscar-winning film is about a team of journalists from The Boston Globe's Spotlight section, looking for answers and evidence to break the silence regarding widespread and systematic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. The truth will leave you mortified!


Image Courtesy: The Guardian


Birdman (2015)


Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu


Star Cast: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone


...or an unexpected virtue of ignorance, is a dark comedy-drama based on the life of a washed off actor named Riggan Thomson ― popularly known for his role as a Birdman in the '90s ― trying to fit in Broadway super-realism style later in his career. The film will not only teach you more about the life of actors but also give you a rather bleak insight into what a single role can do to them. So, hold steady because you are in for emotional mayhem.


Image Courtesy: IndieWire


12 Years A Slave (2014)


Director: Steve McQueen


Star Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Ashley Dyke


An adaptation from the 1853 slave memoir, Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup is a biographical period film that will take you back to the age when humanity wept and freedom suffered. Northup, a well-to-do free African-American is taken away from his family when he is deceived by two conmen and sold into slavery. It took him 12 years to be a free man again and it will take you about an eternity to forget this film. Dive into this one if your patience level is as long as the years we are talking about because it's a fairly long film. 

12 Years A Slave

Image Courtesy:


Argo (2013)


Director: Ben Afflick


Star Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin


Argo is a nail-biting thriller drama based on a true event. When 6 US diplomats get stuck in Tehran, Iran due to ongoing riots in the country, Tony Mendez, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, exfiltration specialist, played by Ben Afflick is brought in for action. The better news is, he manages to come up with the best-worst idea for the mission. So, get ready and take your seats but trust me, you'll only need the edge.


Image Courtesy: Hollywood Reporter


The Artist (2012)


Director: Michel Hazanavicius


Star Cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman


This French drama is the story of the relationship between an older silent film star, George Valentin and a rising young actress Peppy Miller stuck in the part-talkies era when silent films were popularly being replaced by the talkies. The actual film is mute, which means it's a; treat for the eyes and easy on your ears. But don't be surprised if you hear a word or two because this oscar-winning film, in fact, was the beginning of the talkies after all. 

The Artist

Image Courtesy: Robert Ebert


The King's Speech (2011)


Director: Tom Hooper


Star Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter


Great leaders are born with a voice that reaches hearts and minds, but not this one. An Oscar-winning film by Tom Hooper is the story of the future King George VI of England who struggles with stammering. Soon to address the nation, he relies on Lionel Logue, an Australian speech and language therapist, to overcome the problem. This movie is a light-hearted, emotional and inspiring ride you're bound to remember.

Image Courtesy: The New York Times


The Hurt Locker (2010)


Director: Kathryn Bigelow


Star Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty


The Hurt Locker is a 2009 war thriller that follows an Iraq Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team that is being targeted by insurgents in the area. This oscar-winning movie is a full-tilt action piece stacked with horrifying scenes and nerve-racking incidents hard to move on from. One of the best action movies of our time, the film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won six of them. 

Image Courtesy: Forbes


Slumdog Millionaire (2009)


Director: Danny Boyle


Star Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan


Filmed in India, Slumdog Millionaire is a loose adaptation of a 2004 novel, Q&A by an Indian author, Vikas Swarup. It is a story of a 18-year-old Jamal Malik from a slum in Mumbai who enters a well-known Q&A contest, Kaun Banega Crorepati? and answers every question correctly. Later accused of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story to the police, illustrating how he answered each question. A 2010 Academy Award winner, the movie portrayed the dark reality of Indian slums. 

Image Courtesy: SBS


No Country for Old Men (2008)


Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen


Star Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald


A neo-western thriller based on Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel of the same name, this Oscar-winning film follows three main characters ― Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam War veteran and welder who stumbles upon a large sum of money in the desert; Anton Chigurh, a mysterious hitman who is tasked with recovering the money; and Ed Tom Bell (Tom Lee Jones), a local sheriff investigating the crime. If you're a sucker for thriller movies, this one is right up your alley.

Image Courtesy: Substream Magazine


The Departed (2007)


Director: Martin Scorsese


Star Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg


There's a mob on the loose, an undercover police officer sent on a mission to catch him and a mole set by the mob in the police department. A remake of the Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs, this oscar-winning movie is a crime thriller that has inspired a lot of modern-day crime dramas. Even the characters are based on real-life people we usually read about in the newspapers. An action-packed film that will get your heart racing.

Image Courtesy: Entertainment Weekly


Crash (2006)


Director: Paul Haggis


Star Cast: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandiwe Newton, Karina Arroyave


Inspired by a real-life incident, this Academy Award-winning movie features racial and social tension in the underbelly of Los Angeles. With a grand ensemble star cast and a gripping storyline, this crime thriller movie is the perfect portrayal of moral quandaries that change people's lives. 

Image Courtesy: Zimbio


Million Dollar Baby (2005)


Director: Clint Eastwood


Star Cast: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman


An American sports drama, Million Dollar Baby is based on short stories by FX Toole, the pen name of a fighting manager and a cutman, Jerry Boyd. The film follows Margaret Fitzgerald ― an underdog amateur boxer ― who is assisted by an underappreciated boxing trainer in order to achieve her dream to play professionally. This oscar-winning film is high on inspiration and energy. So, if you like your movies uplifting and motivating, this should be your first pick. 

Image Courtesy: Warner Bros.


The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2004)


Director: Peter Jackson


Star Cast: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom


This Academy Award-winning masterpiece is a fantasy adventure film based on the third volume of the same name by JRR Tolkien. Since it's the final film of the trilogy, the stakes are higher than ever. While the forces are joined, Frodo, Sam and Gollum make their way towards Mount Doom in Mordor to destroy the "One Ring". The film is about adventure, loss, suffering and triumph. 

Image Courtesy: variety


Chicago (2003)


Director: Rob Marshall


Star Cast: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere


Taste the temptation and smell the corruption, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chicago. This Oscar-winning film is an American musical black comedy crime thriller based on the 1975 stage musical of the same name. It explores themes of celebrity and scandal wrapped around the peppy beats of jazz music. It's surely a theatrical piece of work that will leave a mark.

Image Courtesy: Into Film


A Beautiful Mind (2002)


Director: Ron Howard


Star Cast: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer


There's nothing better than a gifted mind. Or is it? Inspired by a Pulitzer-prize nominated book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar, this Oscar-winning movie revolves around John Nash, a blessed American mathematician who begins to develop paranoid schizophrenia and delusional episodes while working on a mission. Watch this film for a high dose of emotions and drama.

Image Courtesy: IMDb


Gladiator (2001)


Director: Ridley Scott


Star Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen


Gladiator is an epic historical drama following Maximus Decimus Meridus, a Roman General who was betrayed and reduced to slavery in his own kingdom. Disappointed and raged, he becomes a gladiator and rises through the ranks for vengeance. With a celebrated star cast and an extraordinary storyline, this Oscar-winning film will win your hearts even before the interval. 

Image Courtesy: Outfit4Events


Make some popcorn and get ready to enjoy the best oscar-winning films of the century now. 

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