5 great Oscar-winning movies to watch on HBO Max – Digital Trends

We’ve reached the end of awards season, which means only one ceremony remains: the Oscars. As the most prestigious awards ceremony in film, the Oscars will hand out over 20 awards in above-the-line (picture, acting, directing, and screenwriting) and below-the-line (editing, visual effects, and technical crafts) categories.
While the top prize remains Best Picture, winning in any category makes the film an Oscar winner. Max, formerly HBO Max, hosts a wide selection of Oscar-winning movies. Here are a few Academy Award winners to stream, including a phenomenal sequel and a groundbreaking international thriller.
Apologies to fans of The Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King, but The Two Towers is the best film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. From the flawless battle sequences and jaw-dropping visual effects to the invigorating storytelling and edge-of-your-seat thrills, Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers is a perfect sequel that raises the stakes of the first film while building anticipation for the final entry.
In The Two Towers, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) continue their journey to Mordor. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) find themselves in Rohan, where they reunite with Gandalf (Ian McKellen). After Gandalf frees Théoden (Bernard Hill) from Saruman’s (Christopher Lee) control, the trio, along with the people of Rohan, prepare for the Battle of Helm’s Deep, one of the greatest combat sequences ever captured on film. Nominated for six Oscars, The Two Towers won Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.
Stream The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Max.
Bong Joon-ho tackles social inequality, classism, and the wealth gap in Parasite. The Kim family – Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), Ki-jung (Park So-dam), and Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) – are living in poverty. With little money to their name, Ki-woo gets an opportunity to pose as a university student and be an English tutor for the wealthy Park family. The rest of the Kim family schemes their way into jobs until they all work for the Parks. The Kims enjoy their new lives, but a dark secret threatens to end their venture.
Parasite ushered in a new era of the Academy, one that embraces International films. Although 1917 was a favorite, Parasite pulled the miraculous upset to become the first non-English film to win Best Picture. Parasite won three additional Oscars: Best Director (Bong), Best Original Screenplay (Bong and Han Jin-won), and Best International Feature Film.
Stream Parasite on Max.
Fun fact: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won their first Oscar as writers, not actors. The duo penned the Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting, the film that catapulted the Boston boys to superstardom. Will Hunting (Damon) is a 20-year-old from Southie who works as a janitor at MIT. Don’t judge a book by its cover because Will is the smartest person at the institution. Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) discovers Will’s genius and recruits him to study mathematics.
After Will attacks a police officer, Lambeau keeps him out of prison by getting him to attend therapy with Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Through the sessions, Will slowly opens up to Sean about his hopes, ambitions, and budding romance with a Harvard student named Skylar (Minnie Driver). What starts as a movie about a kid going down the wrong path turns into a heartfelt drama about identity and self-discovery. Nominated for nine Oscars, Good Will Hunting won Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Williams). 
Stream Good Will Hunting on Max.
Five actors – Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, and John Krasinski –have portrayed Jack Ryan, the former Marine turned CIA analyst and the protagonist of Tom Clancy’s novels. While your mileage may vary in terms of which actor gave the best performance, there is no debate when picking the best movie. That title belongs to The Hunt for Red October, the first installment of the Jack Ryan series.
Set during the Cold War in the mid-1980s, it follows Soviet captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), the commander of the Red October, a powerful new stealth submarine. Ramius surprisingly abandons his orders and goes AWOL, with a course set for the U.S. When American forces detect the Red October, CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) believes Ramius aims to defect, not attack, the U.S. The subsequent cat-and-mouse game between the Soviets and Americans makes for one of the decade’s best spy thrillers. Nominated for three Oscars, The Hunt for Red October won Best Sound Effects Editing.
Stream The Hunt for Red October on Max.
If you want to witness romantic chemistry between the two leads, check out Taylor Hackford’s An Officer and a Gentleman. Zack Mayo (Richard Gere), the cocky son of a womanizing Naval petty officer, enlists in the Navy to become a pilot. Upon arrival, Zack and his classmates meet their strict and intense training officer, Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.). Because of Zack’s selfish attitude, Foley makes his life a living hell. Life isn’t so bad for Zack outside of training after he meets Paula (Debra Winger), a local factory worker.
All his life, Zack has been doing things alone. Now that he’s found friends in his class and a girlfriend in Paula, Zack is scared to get too close, fearing that he might end up like his father (Robert Loggia). Only one man can save Zack, and that’s Foley, who pushes Zack beyond his limits.
An Officer and a Gentleman features two star-making performances from Gere and Winger. The irony is that Gere and Winger, whose on-screen relationship is fiery and passionate, did not get along while filming. Regardless, An Officer and a Gentleman is a winning romance with an ending that will make you stand up and cheer. Nominated for six Oscars, the film won Best Supporting Actor (Gossett Jr.) and Best Original Song (Up Where We Belong).
Stream An Officer and a Gentleman on Max.
What better way to get in the spirit of Valentine’s Day than by watching a movie? While none of these movies are set around the holiday, they involve love and romance, two of the key ingredients of Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for something with a happy ending, you came to the right place.
There are thousands of movies within the romance genre, and we picked out five that you can watch on Valentine’s Day. All five films are available on streaming, so you don’t need to leave your house or pull up your credit card information. Our selections include an airplane romance that just came out in 2024, a defining film from the 1980s, and an underrated rom-com from the 2000s.
Upgraded (2024)
Over the course of their decades as one of the most well-known directing duos in the history of Hollywood, Joel and Ethan Coen have made many movies that have more than stood the test of time. Their wild and varied filmography includes dark dramas, straight comedies, and plenty of movies that don’t fit neatly into either category. If you’re looking to catch up on some of the directing duo’s best work and you find yourself scrolling through the great list of movies available on Max, then Fargo is a perfect place to start.
The movie, which tells the story of a kidnapping gone horribly wrong and the comedic investigation into the crime, has spawned a critically acclaimed TV show by Noah Hawley that just premiered its fifth season. Ultimately, though, the original movie still reigns supreme. Here are four reasons you should check it out.
Fargo features Frances McDormand’s most unforgettable performance
And with that, the 2023 year in film has come to a close, and Netflix is wasting no time getting into their January 2024 slate. Kevin Hart is set to headline Lift, a plane heist action film debuting on January 12. Due to Hart’s popularity, Lift will likely become one of the most popular movies on Netflix. Also, check out Good Grief, Dan Levy’s critically acclaimed directorial debut premiering on January 5.
Beyond the high-profile releases, many underrated films on Netflix deserve your time and attention. Here are five underrated movies on Netflix to watch this January. The list includes a heartwarming basketball tale, a culinary drama, and an underappreciated gem from a prominent filmmaker.
Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)
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