Best 2020 Oscar movies you can watch on Netflix and Amazon

It’s been another amazing year at the movies.

Packed with the usual onslaught of sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes, 2019 recorded an impressive list of original streaming gems. For every blockbuster raking in mountains of cash, there are several Netflix or Amazon films also worth seeing.

These are the most likely awards contenders available to watch now.

1. ‘The Irishman’

The Irishman

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Jesse Plemons, Anna Paquin, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Dascha Polanco, Jack Huston, Ray Romano, Jim Norton

Where to watch: Netflix

The Irishman follows mob hit man Frank Sheeran (De Niro) as he reflects on his life of murder and his part in the disappearance of his friend, Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). Checking in at a not-so-tidy 209 minutes, The Irishman is a time investment. It’s worth it, however, as De Niro, Pacino, Joe Pesci and the rest of the cast own scenes and propel the dialogue-heavy script.

The film digitally de-ages the actors as it traces decades in Sheeran’s life in the mob. Critics love it and The Irishman should see major love on Oscar night. The Academy would love nothing more than to award true legends like Marty, Bobby, and Al… And Pesci, who came out of unofficial retirement to re-team with Scorsese again. Watch the nominations roll in early 2020.

2. ‘Marriage Story’

Marriage Story

Netflix

Directed by Noah Baumbach

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Judy Hagerty, Ray Liotta
Where to watch: Netflix

For Noah Baumbach fans, Marriage Story is the culmination of over 20 years of scrutinizing the modern American family. He’s a director whose skills have been honed over the years, through films about divorce and husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and he’s now created something very special that all families can somehow relate to. Scarlett Johansson is a likely Oscar nominee. It’s all right there on the surface for her. Same goes for Adam Driver, who plays her ex-husband. The film depicts the fall of a splendid, artistic New York couple who try to keep things civil in divorce but are turned inside out by the process. Thinking about splitting up? This movie is a smack in the face back to reality.

3. ‘The Two Popes’ (2019)

The Two Popes

Netflix

Directed by Fernando Meirelles

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Emma Bonino
Where to watch: Netflix

It could be another successful Oscar year for Netflix after Roma won hearts in 2018. The Two Popes, already a Golden Globe nominee, is a prime candidate. It stars Pryce and Hopkins as Popes Francis and Benedict, although it’s set mainly during the popehood of Benedict. Francis is still a Cardinal as the film begins. Critics have praised the script by Anthony McCarten (based on his own play) and the lead performances as “funny, soulful” and other complimentary things that bode well. The Academy loves when veteran actors are Oscar-worthy. The Irishman has the same thing going for it. We should see both Pryce and Hopkins on Oscar night.

4. ‘Dolemite Is My Name’

Dolemite Is My Name 2

Netflix

Directed by Craig Brewer

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Wesley Snipes

Where to watch: Netflix

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Reviews were strong for Dolemite Is My Name all year in 2019 and the film is nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor (Murphy) at the 2020 Golden Globes. Don’t sleep on Eddie come Oscar time.

5. ‘The Report’

The Report

Directed by Scott Z. Burns

Starring: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm, Matthew Rhys

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The Report chronicles the investigation into the CIA’s post-9/11 Detention and Interrogation Program through the eyes of lead investigator Daniel Jones (Driver). What he finds is not good and the movie portrays his fight against the government trying to suppress his findings. It’s, simply, the procedural drama of the year.

Writer/director Burns is Steven Soderbergh’s longtime screenwriter so there’s a lot of talent involved here both in front of and behind the lens. I’m a sucker for a great political film and this one is breakneck urgent with actual revelations you never knew. Driver is great as usual in an obsessive performance and Bening is a treat, as well, as California Senator Dianne Feinstein.