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Lesser-known Oscar winners

Sometimes even awards don’t mean immortality. Catch up with these underseen winners through streaming services.


Will the golden statuette go to Bening or the ballerina? Bridges or Bardem? Banking or Banksy? If you need a break from the endless speculation, here are some lesser-known winners from Oscars past to stream.

The Thief of Bagdad (Best Effects, 1941)
Hulu, Netflix Wath Instantly
Considering how little time it takes for a summer blockbuster to look dated, it’s remarkable how well the 70-year-old special effects hold up in this exuberant fantasy. Magic spells, giant djinns and a mechanical flying horse were all conjured onscreen long before the age of CGI. The film also won Oscars for its bold Technicolor cinematography and art direction.

Topkapi (Best Supporting Actor, 1965)
Netflix Watch Instantly
Peter Ustinov plays a small-time schmo who gets sucked into a globe-trotting heist in this lightweight caper from Jules Dassin. Given the amount of time he’s onscreen, Ustinov’s as questionably “supporting” as Samuel L. Jackson was in Pulp Fiction. Perhaps the Academy was swayed by the distractingly fabulous outfits worn by his costars Melina Mercouri and Maximilian Schell.

The True Glory (Best Documentary, 1946)
Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix Watch Instantly
Pieced together from thousands of hours of stunning footage from the just-completed war, this epic nonfiction effort is richer and more nuanced than two hours of Eisenhower-commissioned rah-rahing have any right to be, thanks to the talents of directors Garson Kanin (who’d go on to write Adam’s Rib) and The Third Man’s Carol Reed.

Nowhere in Africa (Best Foreign Language Film, 2003)
Netflix Watch Instantly
Zhang Yimou’s Hero may have been the box-office champ (and the more memorable movie), but at the Oscars it was bested by Caroline Link’s drama about a family of German Jews who flee to Kenya to escape the Nazis and struggle to make a home for themselves.

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