Best Netflix original movies – Entertainment Weekly News

There was a time when the best movies were made by large production companies in Hollywood before being trotted out for a theatrical debut and an eventual release on DVD or a streaming service like Netflix. More and more, however, those days seem to be a thing of the past. Now, some of the best films are produced by the streamers themselves.
In 2022, two of the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars — The Power of the Dog and Don't Look Up — were Netflix original movies (though the trophy went to another streamer, AppleTV+, for CODA). Though Netflix hasn't been able to nab a Best Picture win yet (Roma marked the streamer's very first Best Picture Oscar nom in 2019), it's a Hollywood accolade within reach as Netflix clearly excels when it comes to making original films. Here are the top 10 best Netflix original movies — some of which are Oscar winners — you can stream now.
The 2020 Netflix film Mank tells the story of the making of Orson Welles‘ famous 1941 classic, Citizen Kane. Directed by David Fincher, the film stars Gary Oldman as Herman J. Mankiewicz, or “Mank,” the “scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter,” as he struggles to complete the Citizen Kane screenplay on time. Oldman is joined by an all-star cast that includes Amanda Seyfried, Tom Burke, Lily Collins, Charles Dance, and Tom Pelphrey.
Written by Fincher’s late father, the film was shot in black and white and aimed to recreate the cinematographic style of Welles’ film. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won in the Production Design and Cinematography categories. Though it only won two awards, it still took home more than Citizen Kane. As Entertainment Weekly‘s Leah Greenblatt noted in her review of the film, it may not be for everyone, but it is the ultimate film for lovers of old Hollywood: “part love letter, part cautionary tale, and still somehow a mystery.
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a 2020 Netflix original that (loosely) recounts the true story of seven men who find themselves on trial after a large protest against the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 bears his recognizable fast-paced, verbose style and features an almost impossibly starry ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Mark Rylance, Frank Lagella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Michael Keaton.
As Sorkin told EW, The Trial of the Chicago 7 took 12 years to make after he first thought of bringing the famous court case to life on screen. Nevertheless, it still came at a remarkably appropriate political moment. “It’s funny, I’ve been asked, did the script change at all to mirror the times?” he said. “And no, it didn’t; the times changed to mirror the script.” While this film may tell a story of a war and a group of protestors from over 50 years ago, it’s surprisingly relevant to modern audiences. The ensemble alone is enough to make this film worth watching, but it also bears a few poignant messages about power, politics, and social justice.
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You’d probably expect any film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the legendary trifecta of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci to be nothing short of exceptional — and Netflix’s The Irishman does not disappoint. The 2019 film is based on I Heard You Paint Houses, the 2004 memoir of Frank Sheeran, who found himself embroiled with a Philadelphia-based Italian mob. 
This is essential viewing for film fans of all kinds, but especially if your favorites include the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas, or Taxi Driver. As EW’s Leah Greenblatt put it, it’s “kind of caps-lock Scorsese — the greatest hits of his career revisited once more, with feeling.” The film famously used CGI to de-age its three stars, so The Irishman is one of the first films to follow its characters across several decades without having to cast multiple actors for the same role. Just make sure to set aside plenty of time for viewing, as this epic effort from De Niro and Scorsese clocks in at three-and-a-half hours. 
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The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, is a 1920s Western based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage that follows Phil, a gruff cowboy, and his brother’s new family who have recently moved onto the ranch. The film picked up a staggering 12 Oscar nominations and won Best Director, with Campion becoming the third female director ever to win the award.  
The four central actors each give remarkable performances. Cumberbatch is deeply complex and arresting as Phil. “He’s really beautiful and also a little scary, and he’s charismatic,” Campion explained to EW, noting that Smit-McPhee also gives an astoundingly nuanced performance as Peter. “He really brings something magical and other to it, that surpasses the book’s version of Peter.” Unlike old-school Westerns, The Power of the Dog is a dark, twisted, slow burn of a film that hinges on emotion, manipulation, secrets, and desire.
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Roma was arguably Netflix’s first big original movie that really caught the attention of critics and film buffs alike. It was the first Netflix film to receive a Best Picture nod at the Oscars and ultimately won trophies for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. Starring a cast of relatively unknown Mexican actors, Alfonso Cuarón‘s semi-autobiographical black-and-white film follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a housekeeper for an upper-class family in 1970s Mexico City. 
“I hope that the film is not telegraphing or trying to make a statement. It’s like life,” Cuarón told EW. “Life is a fresco… like a huge mural in which we choose our own experience and we taint everything through the prism of our own experience.” Like life, Roma is a complex, sprawling film that is light on plot and heavy on atmosphere. With plenty of long, wide shots, it sends its viewers diving headfirst into Cuarón’s version of 1970s Mexico City and, ultimately, packs a weighty, emotional punch.
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Marriage Story was a smash hit from Netflix that garnered six Oscar nominations and one win (for Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress category). Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Dern, the film follows a married couple going through an increasingly thorny divorce. 
While it’s not always an easy watch, Marriage Story offers an unflinching, heart-wrenching look at how the practicalities and legalities of divorce can tear apart the people involved. “They’ve lost their voices; they’ve lost a sense of who they are,” Baumbach told EW. “They’re trying to figure out what they believe anymore. And that’s a dangerous place, I think, for a couple to find themselves.” 
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Based on Shakespeare’s Henriad plays, The King tells the story of King Henry V (Timothée Chalamet) as he comes of age and reluctantly takes England into a brutal war with France in the pursuit of peace. The film also stars Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, and Lily-Rose Depp.
While on the surface, The King is a typical muddy, bloody war film, it has many more layers with Chalamet’s fierce moral compass as Hal, Edgerton’s cunning intelligence as Falstaff, and Pattinson’s caricature-like portrayal of the slightly deranged French Prince Louis. And while the film may be light on female characters, Depp becomes “not just the film’s conscience, she’s the bellwether of a better king — and the woman who might one day come to rule him, too.”
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A movie musical directed by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tick, Tick… Boom! is based on the stage show of the same name by Jonathan Larson, the composer of Rent. Starring Andrew Garfield in the leading role and an ensemble cast including Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Jordan Fisher, Robin de Jesus, and Bradley Whitford, the film loosely follows Larson’s own life as a struggling songwriter as he turns 30 in 1990s New York City. 
Told in a series of flashbacks that come to life on screen during a performance of the stage version of Tick, Tick… Boom!, the biopic of sorts takes you on a painfully relatable journey of friendship, heartbreak, and being an artist. With numerous Broadway cameos and Easter eggs, it’s the perfect, heartfelt ode to musical theater, and the remarkable Jonathan Larson is at the center of it all. “He’s a warrior for art and love and the soul, and he wants everyone to sing their song,” Garfield told EW. “He wants everyone to be their own particular note in this grand harmony of a truly meaningful life.”
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What will the end of the world look like? Don’t Look Up has an answer to that question — and unfortunately, it doesn’t look good. In Adam McKay‘s dark comedy, we see a depiction of how the modern world — or in this film’s case, a cavalcade of ineffectual politicians, livestreamers, and interfering billionaires — reacts to the most dire of situations. The four-time Oscar-nominated film has an absurdly stacked cast that includes Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Rylance, Jennifer Lawrence, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Melanie Lynskey, and Cate Blanchett.
“The way to reach people is to open their hearts, and the way to do that is with a joke,” Streep told EW. And that’s exactly what Don’t Look Up attempts to do. While it may initially seem to be an over-the-top, fairly easygoing comedy, the film packs an emotional, intellectual punch. “This movie came from my terror about the climate crisis and the fact that we live in a society that tends to place it as the fourth or fifth news story, or even deny that it’s happening, and how horrifying that is, but at the same time [how] preposterously funny,” McKay said to EW. It’s a darkly parodic film with a somewhat eerie message about humanity — that when the end of the world does come, we may be too busy to even notice.
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The powerful war drama Beasts of No Nation follows a brutal civil war in Africa through the eyes of a child soldier. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and starring Abraham Attah and Idris Elba, the film is a harrowing, confronting look at humanity in the face of the devastation of war. After its release on Netflix, it was a huge success on the platform, being viewed in North America over 3 million times in just 10 days. However, despite its critical and relative commercial success, it didn’t receive any Oscar nominations.
Beasts of No Nation may not be filled with A-list Hollywood stars, but it is one of Netflix’s greatest films to date. As EW’s Leah Greenblatt noted, “It’s a credit to Fukunaga as a filmmaker — and his outstanding cast, nearly all of them first-timers aside from Elba — that Beasts is both audaciously styled and heartbreakingly human in scale.” 
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