Ten Films You Should Watch Before the Oscars

The Academy Awards are rapidly approaching, with the ceremony being scheduled to air February 24 on ABC. It’s arguably the biggest night of the year for Hollywood, with the awards celebrating the best films of the past year.

Madeline Brennan, News/Technology/Entertainment Editor

2019 was a spectacular year for film in all genres, from the comedic genius of films like JoJo Rabbit to the heartbreaking dramas of films like Marriage Story. With so many excellent films in the running, it’s hard to choose which one is most worthy of the coveted awards.


Though nominations have not been announced yet, I’ve collected a list of the ten films you should see to prepare for the ceremony, based on the big winners of other awards thus far as well as the amount of buzz these films have garnered.


There are some films that more important than others based off of their chances of winning, so the list is numbered from the most important in terms of the Academy Awards, to the least. Happy viewing!



  • The Irishman


Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci

Available on: Netflix

What is it about?

  • Simple truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with a powerful mobster. As he climbs the ranks to become a top hit man, he also goes to work for Jimmy Hoffa.



  • Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood


Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie

Available on: Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, or Google Play

What is it about?

  • Aging actor Rick Dalton’s career is quickly declining, and he finds himself struggling to come to terms with the end of a very successful chapter of his life. As a new chapter unfolds, Dalton and his stunt double, Clint Booth, become intertwined with the fate of Sharon Tate and the Manson Family in Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film.



  • 1917


Directed by: Sam Mendes

Starring: George MacKay, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumberbatch

Available in: theaters

What is it about?

  • World War I rages on, and two British soldiers are tasked with delivering a message that would save thousands of lives in a race against the clock.



  • Joker


Directed by: Todd Phillips

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz

Available on: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, or Google Play

What is it about?

  • In this gritty origin story of an iconic villain, failed comedian Arthur Fleck slowly descends into madness and he faces rejection from the world around him.



  • Marriage Story


Directed by: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern

Available on: Netflix

What is it about?

  • Theater director Charlie Barber and his wife, Nicole, are getting a divorce. Tensions soar as their once cordial relationship begins to break down under the stress of attorneys and courts.



  • JoJo Rabbit


Directed by: Taika Waititi

Starring: Roman Griffin Davis and Scarlett Johansson

Available: Nowhere right now, but it will be released soon!

What is it about?

  • In a comedic take on Nazi Germany, JoJo Betzler, a Hitler youth who believes that Hitler is his imaginary friend, discovers that his mother is illegally hiding a young Jewish girl in their home, endangering both of their lives and enraging JoJo’s blind prejudice.



  • Little Women


Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Timothée Chalamet

Available in: theaters

What is it about?

  • In Civil War era America, Josephine “Jo” March aspires to be a writer, but struggles against sexist restrictions of the time and the drama of her life and the lives of her four sisters.



  • Parasite


Directed by: Bong Joon-ho

Starring: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong

Available on: Amazon Prime

What is it about?

  • Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.



  • Knives Out


Directed by: Rian Johnson

Starring: Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans

Available in: theaters

What is it about?

  • In this murder mystery, famed detective Benoit Blanc must find out who murdered esteemed novelist Harlan Thrombey, and the suspects are his various family members.


  1. The Two Popes

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, and Luis Gnecco

Available on: Netflix

What is it about?

  • This drama covers the abdication of Pope Benedict and his relationship with Pope Francis.