The 94th Oscars took place on Sunday night in Hollywood as a celebration of the best films released in the last year. Coming out of the pandemic, we've been lucky to have some excellent options to choose from, and while there wasn't any big surprises, there were some excellent winners.
if you missed the ceremony, you missed some great performances from Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and Finneas, and the cast of Encanto. There were also some big name appearances from the likes of DeNiro, Pacino, Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli and loads more. Oh, and then there was that Will Smith - Chris Rock thing, but less about that.
The important thing is the films and the big winner went to CODA. Not only was this this the first film to win Best Picture from a streaming platform (Apple TV+), it was also the first with a predominantly deaf cast.
Other big wins went to Dune, Power of the Dog, King Richard, Belfast, Encanto and The eyes of Tammy Faye. Most of these films are now available on streaming platforms, so if you haven't seen them yet, now is your chance to catch up.
The best Oscar winners to watch
Based in the original novel by Frank Herbert, Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atreides, the heir to the House of Atreides. Put in charge of the planet Arrakis, which produces the extremely valuable spice, they face a hostile planet, deception and a coup. Paul's connection to the planet could be their savior.
Dune was originally produced as a film in 1984 by David Lynch but this new interpretation is beautifully shot and has some great performances. The plot is complicated and it runs over two and a half hours, so be prepared to concentrate.
Dune is in cinemas and available on HBO Max now.
2. Power of the Dog
This Netflix original stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the moody rancher, Phil Burbank, Jesse Plemons as the more respectable brother George, and Kirsten Dunst as his new wife, Rose. There's also a stand-out performance by Kodi Smit-McPhee as Rose's son Peter.
This is no ordinary cowboy movie. Disapproving of George's new wife, Phil makes Rose and her son less than welcome until a friendship forms. Filmed in New Zealand the scenery and cinematography here are stunning, matched only by the dark and brooding lines from Cumberbatch and the subtleties from Smit-McPhee.
Though it lost out on Best Picture to CODA, this is definitely worth a watch. It's available on Netflix now and in some theaters.
3. King Richard
As Will Smith highlighted in his Best Actor speech, Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family and love makes you do crazy things. The father of tennis super stars Venus and Serena Williams is the focus of this biographical film. It tells how Richard Williams (played by Smith) went to extraordinary lengths to make his daughters the best in the world.
It's a feel-good story with a few twists and turns along the way. Smith is brilliant as the obsessively dedicated father and gives a performance that left little doubt that the Oscar was coming his way.
CODA walked away with this year's big prize: Best Picture, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur and Best Adapted Screenplay for Siân Heder. CODA stands for child of deaf adults and the film stars Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, the only hearing person in her family, who tries to help her family's fishing business but is trying to live out her own passions as a singer.
The film was adapted from an old French movie and is beautifully adapted here. It's honest, funny, endearing and loving, but not always comfortable viewing. The cast takes this story to another level, making it not only believable but truly engaging. While some have called it an Oscar upset, I felt it was a dead cert from the start.
CODA is available to stream now on Apple TV+.