While 2020 is set to offer us many, many fun and intense adventures on the big screen, we’re still not quite done looking back on the excellent year in cinema that was 2019. An incredible number of phenomenal films found their way into theatres last year, and with the Academy Awards® soon approaching, it won’t be long until Hollywood’s highest honor is bestowed on those considered the best of the best.
Keeping in line with that idea of looking back, this time of year is always perfect to reflect on the big Oscar® winners of the past — and you’re in luck because a number of the best ones in recent years are currently available to stream instantly on AMC Theatres On Demand.
Ben Affleck got on an incredible roll when he refocused his career on directing, and after helming GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN, he directed the film that continues to stand out as the best work on his filmography: ARGO. The 2013 Best Picture winner is best known for being a tense, dramatic ride set during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, but it’s also shockingly fun and features excellent performances by an outstanding cast led by Affleck and John Goodman.
Cinema history is loaded with brilliant films about the courageous work done by intrepid journalists, and it’s definitely not uncommon for their greatness to be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The most recent excellent example of this came just a few years ago when director Tom McCarthy’s brilliant SPOTLIGHT took home the top prize at the Oscars®. Telling the story of the investigation that uncovered the Catholic church sexual abuse scandal, it’s a movie packed with powerful drama and stellar performances from Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James and more.
No Country for Old Men
After years of producing incredible films, writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen were finally fully recognized by the Oscars when NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN won Best Picture in 2008, and it’s a perfect example of the Academy Awards hitting the nail on the head with their selection. Javier Bardem (who won a Best Supporting Actor trophy for the part) plays one of the most horrific and terrifying villains that cinema has ever seen in this crime tale that chronicles a changing world and the innocence lost within it. No matter how many times you watch it, it’s impossible not to be awed by its magnificence.
Martin Scorsese is a name we’re hearing a lot this awards season, thanks to the critically acclaimed THE IRISHMAN. While the legendary New Yorker director hasn’t always had the greatest of luck when it comes to the Academy Awards, we will never, ever forget his brilliant Best Picture winner, THE DEPARTED. The film is an epic cat-and-mouse game that plays out from the perspectives of an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a mole on the Boston Police Department (Matt Damon), and spins a tale that is easily one of the best crime stories that Scorsese has ever committed to celluloid — which is obviously saying quite a lot.
The Hurt Locker
War movies regularly make for excellent award season fodder, represented in 2020 by Sam Mendes’ brilliant one-shot epic 1917. In celebration of that tremendous work, why not revisit the last time that a title from this genre won Best Picture? Kathryn Bigelow’s THE HURT LOCKER is just about as intense as war movies get, featuring a stellar performance from breakout star Jeremy Renner as a bomb squad soldier during the Iraq War, and constantly making your heart stop with scenes where the tiniest of mistakes can cost lives.