8 British films that have won Oscars

In Los Angeles on March 27, the Motion Picture Academy of America will announce the names of the new Oscar winners. Ahead of the ceremony, we decided to take a look back at the best British films that have won the prestigious award in different years. What better reason to have an English movie night?

20.03.2022Anastasia Fedorova

“The Father.”

A recent premiere starring Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman. Anthony suffers from senile dementia, his daughter Ann is looking for a caregiver for him, however, the hero resists this in every possible way. He wants his daughter to always be there to care for him. Suddenly strangers appear in his apartment: a strange man and a girl pretending to be Ann, and Anthony’s favorite watch keeps disappearing somewhere.

The family drama is based on the play of the same name by Florian Zeller, who also directed the film. The story turned out to be chamber: almost all the action takes place in the London apartment of the hero, and the audience’s attention is focused only on the two actors. By the way, both Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Coleman were nominated for Oscars, but the award went only to Hopkins. The film also won a statuette for Best Adapted Screenplay. Thanks to him, the movie balances between drama and thriller and keeps the viewer from getting bored. You can watch the picture on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.

“The Bridge on the River Kwai.

In 1958, David Lean’s sweeping war drama (director of “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Dr. Zhivago”) collected seven Oscars, including for Best Picture. It also made the British Film Institute’s list of the 100 Best Pictures. It is based on a true story about British soldiers captured by the Japanese during World War II. The camp is run by Colonel Saito, known for his ferocious temper and particular cruelty to prisoners of war. He gives them the task of building a bridge across the River Kwai as soon as possible. Not everyone can withstand such stresses, and the captives begin to plan an escape.

In the story, the soldiers built the bridge in a couple months, but it took eight months and 500 workers to build the set. Its total value was over a million pounds. Costs and efforts of the crew paid off: the picture was a success not only with critics, but also with the public. In 1957, the movie became the top-grossing movie in the UK and the top-grossing movie in the United States and Canada. You can watch the feed on Chili ‘s and Apple TV services.


Even more Oscar-worthy is the work of director Richard Attenborough. Out of 11 nominations, the picture won seven awards. The idea for the movie came to Attenborough in 1962 when he read a biography of Mahatma Gandhi. Thanks to him, India was able to gain independence from the British Empire in 1947. The lead role of the Indian leader was played by Ben Kingsley, a British actor with Indian roots. His father was from the same state as Gandhi.

Four different scripts had to be written for filming, and only one suited the director. The author was John Briley – he ended up winning the statuette for best screenplay. To make a movie, the director had to sell all his property and break a modest acting earnings in the movie. For the sake of filming Attenborough refused the offer of Laurence Olivier to become deputy director at London’s National Theater. You can see the movie on Chili‘s, Apple TV and Amazon Prime services.


The first film adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s famous play was made in 1938. A year later, the tape won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. In the story, Eliza, a florist, meets Henry Higgins, a phonetics professor, and Colonel Pickering. Together they decide to turn a simple girl into a society lady. The story is based on the myth of the sculptor Pygmalion. He carved a statue of Galatea from ivory and fell in love with his own creation. His passion was so strong that the goddess of love decided to help Pygmalion by reviving the statue, and the sculptor married Galatea.

It was directed by Brits Anthony Esquith and Leslie Howard, the latter also starring in the title role. Eliza Doolittle played Wendy Hiller, who starred in “The Elephant Man” and “Murder on the Orient Express”, as well as already played the heroine in the theater production. Costumes for the characters were ordered from fashion designers House of Worth and Elsa Schiaparelli. Appreciate the painting and fashion of the early 20th century on Amazon Prime.

“Howards End.

The action is set in early 20th century England. The fates of three families become intertwined. The Wilcoxes come from wealthy capitalists, the Schlegels are bourgeois, and the Bastes belong to the lower middle class. The relationships of characters from seemingly completely different families are woven into several stories of how Britain lived during the reign of King Edward VII. Their family and friendship ties literally reproduce class relations in England at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Edward Morgan Forster. The writer was interested in the life of different classes and especially their misunderstanding of people of other classes. In order to keep the story out of the hands of Hollywood studios, movie producer Ismail Merchant had to buy the rights to the book for a whopping $250,000. In the end, the movie not only paid off, but also won multiple awards. Emma Thompson alone won all 13 awards she was nominated for for her role. In addition to her in the film James Ivory played Helena Bonham Carter, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Hopkins. You can watch the feed on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

“2001: A Space Odyssey.”

This is how Stanley Kubrick envisioned 2001: intergalactic ships, smart computers and space travel. The director shot the picture in 1968, and even after more than half a century it doesn’t look outdated. At one time the tape won the Oscar for best visual effects, and indeed the journey on the ship of Discovery looks more than natural. The main characters are Captains Dave and Frank and their on-board computer, HAL 9000. Together they explore space until HAL decides to do things his own way.

In addition to the main theme of space, Kubrick also reflects on the universe as a whole: how life on Earth originated and what the future might hold. The director was so fired up about the project that he brought in consultants from NASA, repainted tons of sand to simulate the lunar surface and together with the team built a model of the spaceship on the set. NASA later named the probe after the painting – 2001 Mars Odyssey. You can see the cosmos through Kubrick’s eyes on Chili and Apple TV.

“Ex Machina.”

In 2014, director Alex Garland made his feature film debut and immediately won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. In the story, a billionaire white-collar entrepreneur creates a high-tech house in which a robot girl lives. The artificial intelligence still needs to be finalized, and for this the hero hires a programmer. Caleb must spend a week in a house cut off from civilization and participate in an experiment. All would be fine if the machine hadn’t gotten smarter than its creator.

Despite the theme of robots and artificial intelligence, relationships still take center stage here. The initial plot about a simple robot testing immediately takes an unexpected turn, and the story begins to work at the intersection of genres – melodrama, thriller and sci-fi. The tape will appeal to those who like such mixes and bold authorial decisions. The main roles in the film were played by Oscar Isaac, Donal Gleason and Alicia Vikander. You can watch the movie on Chili and Apple TV.

“Promising Young Woman.

Cassandra leads a double life: working in a coffee shop during the day and hunting men at night. A few years ago, her university friend was a victim of rape. The girl decides to avenge her: she meets men in bars and clubs, pretends to be drunk, and then, abruptly “sobering up”, begins to “educate” them for trying to dissolve their hands. So she tries to take out her anger on them for what happened to her friend, and in general to express her opinion about society’s attitude towards rape victims.

The picture won an Oscar for best screenplay. Interestingly, the plot cleverly intertwines a romantic story with a thriller and black comedy. The project was created by production designer Emirald Fennel. The girl became the director, writer and producer of her debut movie. Fennell has previously worked on series such as Killing Eve, Call the Midwife and The Crown. The lead role of that “hopeful girl” was played by Carey Mulligan. The tape is available on Chili and Apple TV.

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