10 Upcoming Netflix Originals That Could Win Oscars



Though Netflix has only won two Academy Awards to date – a Best Documentary Short win for 2016’s The White Helmets and a Best Documentary Oscar for last year’s Icarus – it’s clear that the streaming platform is finally starting to be taken seriously as a major awards player.

This year’s Academy Awards saw Netflix nominated for eight awards across a wide spectrum of categories, and it’s safe to say that this number is going to increase massively over the next few years.

2018 is certainly looking to be a banner year for the company’s awards prospects, with a number of high-profile, auteur-led prestige films preparing for a straight-to-streaming release over the next five months.

Though some of these projects could fall short of the hype or just end up not being “Academy-friendly” enough, a good number of them will surely be kept in the awards conversation all the way to the final podium.

And of course, with some of these movies not set to release until next year, Netflix is already hedging their bets for the 2020 Oscars and beyond…

10. Outlaw King


Release Date: November 23

The Buzz: The brilliant David Mackenzie (Starred Up, Hell or High Water) re-teams with Chris Pine for this highly-anticipated $120 million Robert the Bruce biopic, which is aiming for a more faithful and honest depiction of the historical figure compared to his much-criticised appearance in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.

With a script co-written by Mackenzie and the minds behind Boardwalk Empire and the recent Planet of the Apes movies, it’s easy to be optimistic about the director knocking this out of the park.

In addition to the potential for Pine to scoop his first acting nomination (and maybe even a win), he’s joined by a splendid supporting cast, including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Stephen Dillane and the inimitable James Cosmo.

Given that Mackenzie was robbed of a Best Director nomination for his work on Hell or High Water, the Academy could end up righting their previous wrong early next year.

9. Blonde


Release Date: TBA

The Buzz: This Marilyn Monroe biopic from Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) has been in development for close to a decade, with Netflix saving it from development hell in 2016.

The project had previously been courting both Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain to star, though each ended up dropping out as production was continually delayed.

Based on Joyce Carol Oates’ fictional memoir, Blonde will explore the ups and downs of Monroe’s life and, with Dominik at the helm, should be a good deal grittier than the rather soft, Oscar-baiting 2011 movie My Week with Marilyn.

Dominik claims he already has an actress in mind to star, though nothing’s concrete yet.

It remains to be seen when the film will finally go before cameras, but when it finally hits streaming platforms, you can bet the movie will stoke plenty of Oscar hype for whoever ends up playing Monroe, as well as the costume design, screenplay and Dominik’s direction.

8. Velvet Buzzsaw


Release Date: October 26

The Buzz: Tony Gilroy (Nightcrawler) reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo for this horror-thriller set in the world of contemporary art in Los Angeles, which Gilroy claims will tout a Robert Altman-esque ensemble vibe.

Co-stars include Toni Collette and John Malkovich, ensuring this project has plenty of awards-friendly clout behind it. Gilroy scored a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nod for Nightcrawler, so if he can recapture some of that deliciously lurid magic here he could be onto an entrancing winner.

Gyllenhaal always brings his A-game, so he’s certainly an easy contender for a Best Actor Oscar, and considering that Rene Russo gave her best performance in years in Nightcrawler, fingers are crossed that Gilroy’s written another cracking role for her.

Much like Nightcrawler it could ultimately end up too edgy and nihilistic for many awards voters’ tastes, but with the Academy diversifying its membership in recent years, you never know.

7. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs


Release Date: Late 2018

The Buzz: Up until recently, The Coen Brothers’ western anthology project was believed to be a six-part Netflix TV series, but the iconic filmmaking duo confirmed mere days ago that it’s in fact been re-worked into a 132-minute movie.

Concrete details about the film, starring the illustrious likes of Tim Blake Nelson, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Stephen Root and Tom Waits, are still pretty thin on the ground, but the Coens are undeniably among the most feted filmmakers working today.

The anthology format may end up working against the cast members scoring anything beyond supporting acting consideration, but it’s easy to imagine the writing, direction and cinematography going over well with the Academy.

The film premieres at the Venice Film Festival in September, so we’ll know more about its awards prospects then.

6. 22 July


Release Date: October 16

The Buzz: When it comes to dramatising horrific real-life events, it’s hard to imagine a director more capable than Paul Greengrass. His kinetic, verite-style direction never gets in the way of his humanistic approach to tragedy, as proven by his stunning work on both United 93 and Captain Phillips.

July 22 will see Greengrass tackling the 2011 Norway attacks, which saw Anders Behring Breivik claim 77 lives in two sequential acts of terrorism.

The film, which will reportedly depict both the deadly attacks themselves and the subsequent public reaction, will require a delicate, deft directorial hand to not be seen as tacky or tasteless, and given Greengrass’ prior work, he’s pretty much the perfect filmmaker to get the job done.

Though the small $20 million budget and all-Norwegian cast might work against the film’s awards cred, neither prevented United 93 from being a major awards prospect back in 2006.

July 22 will premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September.

5. Triple Frontier

J.C. Chandor Instagram

Release Date: TBA 2019

The Buzz: This crime drama from the superb J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost, A Most Violent Year) co-stars Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal and Oscar Isaac as a group of five friends teaming up to eliminate a South American drug lord, but inevitably, it all goes awry.

If the combination of Chandor and the awards-friendly likes of Affleck and Isaac wasn’t enough, Chandor co-wrote the film’s script with Mark Boal, who won an Oscar for writing The Hurt Locker and scored a further nomination for Zero Dark Thirty.

Ultimately this could end up being more of a card-carrying genre film than the Academy typically goes for, but Chandor’s involvement should ensure it stays the right side of classy.

4. Roma


Release Date: December 14

The Buzz: By far the most “serious” 2018 awards contender on this list, Roma is Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since 2013’s Gravity, though sees the two-time Oscar winner returning to a far more subdued and stripped-down type of dramatic feature.

The movie, which will be presented in black-and-white, “chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s” and stars an all-Mexican cast.

While monochrome cinematography and unknown casts don’t often fly high with the Academy, the industry buzz on this thing is off-the-charts, with the early word suggesting that Cuarón serves up a unique, visually stunning spin on a seemingly typical family drama.

It’s already ranking incredibly high on countless Best Picture prediction lists, and it’s certainly Netflix’s strongest shot at an actual Best Picture win to date.

Roma premieres at Venice in September and will play numerous other festivals around the world before heading to streaming shortly before Christmas.

3. The King


Release Date: TBA 2019

The Buzz: Though David Michôd’s (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) first outing with Netflix, last year’s War Machine, was a bit of a disappointment, he looks set to rebound with this historical epic adapted from Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 1”, “Henry IV, Part 2” and “Henry V.”

Co-written by Joel Edgerton and boasting an insanely enviable cast, including Edgerton (Falstaff), Timothée Chalamet (Henry V), Robert Pattinson (The Dauphin), Ben Mendelsohn (Henry IV), Sean Harris and many more, this has boundless potential to be a mighty, towering screen take on the Bard’s classic texts.

What’s more, Brad Pitt and his Plan B production company are producing, which has previously scored Pitt three Best Picture nominations, with one win for 12 Years A Slave.

2. The Irishman


Release Date: TBA 2019

The Buzz: Though it won’t be eligible until the 2020 Oscars, Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited epic crime thriller is by far the most probable Oscar-winner on this list.

Based on Charles Brandt’s true crime novel I Heard You Paint Houses, The Irishman is written by four-time Oscar nominee, one-time winner Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and boasts one of the most impressive movie casts ever assembled: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, Stephen Graham and Jesse Plemons, to name just a few.

With a colossal $140 million budget, Netflix is clearly banking big on The Irishman being a huge awards player, and though there are sure concerns about the film using CGI to digitally de-age De Niro, Pacino and Pesci for flashback sequences, there’s no denying we’re in the hands of a master here.

1. The Last Thing He Wanted


Release Date: TBA 2019

The Buzz: Writer-director Dee Rees helped Netflix score some of their first “serious” Oscar nominations to date, with last year’s Mudbound scooping nods for Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song and Best Cinematography.

It’s easy to have high expectations for Rees’ next project, then, a political thriller adapted from Joan Didion’s eponymous novel, following a journalist (Anne Hathaway) who stops covering the 1984 U.S. Presidential election to care for her dying father (Willem Dafoe). However, she unwittingly finds herself taking over his secret occupation as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America.

With Ben Affleck and Toby Jones rounding out the supporting cast, this has the potential to score Oscars in pretty much every major category, so get hype.



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