We're two months into 2015, and let's face it: there's really nothing good in theaters. There may be a few films from last year you haven’t seen that are up for Academy Awards, but the rest are clunkers. For whatever reason, the studios have deemed January and February the dumping grounds for films that are certain to be future Razzie Award nominees (I'm looking at you, J. Lo).
Why waste your money on a movie based on a book that started out as Twilight fan fiction? Stay home and dive into the many Academy Award nominees and winners available from your friends at Shout! Factory, many in high-definition!
Must-See Oscar Greats
1990: WINNER – Best Costume Design
NOMINEE – Best Actor in a Leading Role, Kenneth Branagh; Best Director, Kenneth Branagh
The Bard has had his fair share of the cinematic spotlight, but no one does it quite like Kenneth Branagh, who wrote, directed, and starred in this stirring adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. Branagh, who made his directorial debut, smartly surrounds himself with fellow thespians Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, and a young Christian Bale in one of his first roles. With a thrilling score by Patrick Doyle and Oscar-winning costumes, this film truly encapsulates the epicness and grandeur that is Henry V.
1982: WINNER – Best Actor in a Leading Role, Henry Fonda; Best Actress in a Leading Role, Katharine Hepburn; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
NOMINEE– Best Picture; Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Jane Fonda; Best Director, Mark Rydell; Best Cinematography; Best Sound; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Original Score
The Fondas are one of cinema's great acting families, and On Golden Pond gives us two of them. Henry Fonda, in his last feature motion picture, and daughter Jane Fonda are joined by the incomparable Katherine Hepburn as a family with a strained past spending one final summer at their cottage by Golden Pond. Henry Fonda won his only acting Oscar for this film, which is mind-boggling when you consider his near-50-year career in front of the camera and memorable roles from films like Once Upon a Time in the West, The Grapes of Wrath, and 12 Angry Men, to name a few. On Golden Pond has no shortness of drama, great acting, and a beautiful score. It's no wonder it was nominated for ten Academy Awards.
1969: WINNER – Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen
NOMINEE – Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Gene Wilder
Only one man could make Hitler and Nazis funny: the comedic genius and legend that is Mel Brooks. It's hard to believe, too, that a movie that frequently finds itself on "funniest movies in film history" lists almost didn't even get released! It was only after Peter Sellers saw the completed film that he used his cachet to convince the film's producer that it should be released. And thank goodness he did. Otherwise, we never would have known the quirky, zany, brilliant and hilarious performances of Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Dick Shawn, and Kenneth Mars. Springtime for Hitler? More like laugh time for us!
1983: WINNER – Best Actress in a Leading Role, Meryl Streep
NOMINEE – Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Music, Original Score
Meryl Streep has no equal. She is a master class of acting, effortlessly capable of both comedy and drama. Her 40 year résumé boasts some of the greatest films of all time. And she has been nominated a record 19 times for an Academy Award. With Sophie's Choice, she won her second Oscar for her portrayal of a woman tortured by her past and the unthinkable decision she had to make. Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol both shine as the men in her life, the three of them caught in a manic love triangle. Be sure to keep a box of tissues with you as you watch… This one's a guaranteed tearjerker.
1975: NOMINEE – Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation
It's The Phantom of the Opera meets Tommy. Brian De Palma's horror musical puts a spin on the classic tale with a touch of rock 'n' roll added for good measure. The film has become a cult classic throughout the years, and it's easy to see why: it's an unconventional love story with a sly sense of humor and eye-popping costumes and set design. De Palma's trademark camera style is in full force here, with probably one of the most complex and amazing long takes ever filmed…in split screen! The film might have "bombed" at the theaters, but it didn't stop the Academy from recognizing the brilliance of Paul Williams' (who also stars as the conniving Swan) original score and songs.
1979: NOMINEE – Best Actor in a Leading Role, Laurence Olivier; Best Film Editing; Best Music, Original Score
Perennial good guy Gregory Peck plays against type as historical villain Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who performed unspeakable science experiments, and Laurence Olivier stars as Ezra Lieberman, an aging-Nazi hunter out to capture him. With Lieberman hot on Mengele's trail, the story takes an unexpected turn with a twist that takes this cat-and-mouse game to a whole new level. This film features two Hollywood titans at the top of their games, and even features a rare dramatic performance from Steve Guttenberg in one of his first films. This taut, unnerving thriller is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with only a guess as to what could come next.
1955: Winner – Best Short Subject, Cartoons
1974: Nominee – Best Costume Design; Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
1972: Nominee – Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Richard Jaeckel; Best Music, Original Song
1997: Nominee – Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Barbara Hershey; Best Costume Design
1977: Nominee – Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Costume Design
1948: Nominee – Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
1956: Nominee – Best Writing, Story and Screenplay
1953: Nominee – Best Music, Original Song
And don't forget to check out these Oscar winners and nominees on Shout Factory TV!
1940: Winner – Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Thomas Mitchell; Best Music, Scoring; Nominee – Best Picture; Best Director, John Ford; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Art Direction; Best Film Editing
1976: Nominee – Best Actress in a Leading Role, Carol Kane
1981: Nominee – Best Costume Design
1981: Nominee – Best Actor in a Leading Role, Peter O'Toole; Best Director, Richard Rush; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium