The M-Net Movies Collection totals 90 000 minutes, 1 500 hours or 63 days worth of movies. That’s a lot of movies and a lot of choices. With the Oscars® around the corner, we thought we’d cut down on your decision-making time by highlighting a selection of must-watch, Oscar-winning movies this awards season, from the M-Net Movies Collection.
- The Danish Girl
Following the story of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery, the film draws its inspiration from the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff. Directed by Tom Hooper (who won a Best Director Oscar in 2011 for The King’s Speech), it’s a tale romantically told and complemented by art direction that could have been created by its characters, and a beautiful score by Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat.
Won: Best Supporting Actress for Alicia Vikander
A sweeping historical epic, Elizabeth catapulted Cate Blanchett to major Hollywood stardom. The Aussie actress’s performance as the famous English monarch was praised far and wide, earning her multiple accolades, including her first Oscar nomination. Nine years later Blanchett was nominated for the same character in the film’s sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Although she did not win for either film she has since won two Oscars: one for Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator, and Best Actress for Blue Jasmine.
Won: Best Makeup for Jenny Shircore
- The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch impressed Sherlock Holmes’ fans everywhere with his portrayal of the famous detective in Sherlock, but they don’t give Oscars for TV shows. Instead it was The Imitation Game – about Alan Turing, the man who helped decrypt coded messages from the Enigma machine during World War II – that landed him his first Oscar nomination, for Best Actor. His co-star, Keira Knightley, received her second acting nomination, for playing Turing’s fiancée Joan Clarke, a fellow code breaker. In total the film received eight nominations, winning one for its screenplay (adapted from the book by Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: The Enigma) and leading to an inspiring acceptance speech by screenwriter Graham Moore. Watch it below.
Won: Best Adapted Screenplay for Graham Moore
- The Last Emperor
This is the story of the last Emperor of China ascending to the dragon throne. Sounds kind of like Game of Thrones, except that it’s not fantasy. Based on the autobiography by Puyi, China’s last emperor, it’s a sumptuous tale of politics and power (still sounding very Game of Thronesy, right?), which won all the Oscars for which it was nominated.
Won: Best Picture
Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Adapted Screenplay for Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci
Best Cinematography for Vittorio Storaro
Best Art and Set Direction for Ferdinando Scarfiotti, Bruno Cesari and Osvaldo Desideri
Best Costume Design for James Acheson
Best Sound for Bill Rowe and Ivan Sharrock
Best Film Editing for Gabriella Cristiani
Best Original Score for Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su
- The Piano
With moving performances by Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin, it’s little surprise that both walked away with acting Oscars, in 1994, for this New Zealand-set tale about a mute piano player. Even more remarkable was the fact that not only did 11-year old Paquin become the second youngest actor to win an acting Oscar (after 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal in 1974) she also won for her feature film debut. Watch her adorably awkward acceptance speech below.
Won: Best Actress for Holly Hunter
Best Supporting Actress for Anna Paquin
Best Original Screenplay for Jane Campion
- The Revenant
Based on the true story of the American frontiersman Hugh Glass, the film follows his battle to survive after he is attacked by a bear and abandoned by his men. The film garnered Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar; while director Alejandro G. Iñárritu picked up his fourth Oscar when he won Best Director (having won three the previous year for Birdman). Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki scooped up his third consecutive Oscar (having won the previous two years for Birdman and Gravity). Read more about The Revenant here.
Won: Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Best Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki
Another Oscar-winning film that threw its lead into the limelight, Rocky made a star of Sylvester Stallone and won three of the ten Oscars it was nominated for. Like Blanchett, Stallone was nominated twice for playing the same character, in 1977 for the first film and again in 2016 for the seventh instalment in the franchise, Creed.
Won: Best Picture
Best Director for John G. Avildsen
Best Film Editing for Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad
Every year the Oscars snub and surprise. In 2015, film fans were taken aback that this highly-acclaimed portrayal of the Selma to Montgomery protest marches in 1965 only received two nominations. Many felt director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo (as Martin Luther King, Jr.) should have been nominated. Nevertheless, it still received many accolades and was praised by critics.
Won: Best Original Song for Common and John Legend for Glory
Learn more about the M-Net Movies Collection by clicking here.
Want even more movies? What about an entire day dedicated to them? If you’re seriously obsessed with movies, sign the petition for National Movies Day here and stand a chance of winning a set of four tickets to this film-filled day.
Watch the Oscars (get the full list of nominees here) live on Monday 27 February at 03:30 on M-Net Movies Premiere and in prime time at 19:30 that same day on M-Net.