Skooby's picks: three Best Picture winners to stream this weekend

There are thousands of movies available to stream all the time. This is good, but it’s also overwhelming: when you have that many options, how can you choose just one? Every Friday, I’m presenting you with just three movies available to stream that you should watch to avoid that stress. I’ll hand out different movie recommendations every week.

This week, as we get closer to the Oscars on Feb. 24, I’m recommending three Best Picture winners available to stream right now.

West Side Story

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Available on: Netflix

More than 50 years after its Best Picture win, West Side Story remains one of the most iconic musicals in cinema history. The modernized Shakesperian tale centers on two rival New York City gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, and the complications the rivalry creates for friends and lovers on opposite sides. West Side Story is garish and unapologetically Hollywood, but it’s also one of the most dazzling musicals of all time. Musicals have fallen out of the Academy’s favor in recent years, so check out this one for an old-school sense of the Academy’s former taste.

Moonlight

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Available on: Amazon Prime

Moonlight is a heartache of a film, and it’s stunning for the way it lends transformative power to the small moments in life. Chiron, a sexually stifled black kid living in impoverished Miami, has his identity forged in schoolyard scuffles and swimming lessons, and the episodic nature of his growth supplies every moment in the film with a palpable gravitas. The deep emotional impact of Chiron’s loneliness stems from this arc: the characters are the sum of their experiences, no matter how much they try to start over, and those experiences are largely outside of their control.

The film’s importance also stems from its portrayal of the fluidity of identity. Everyone in this film is confused, and even the figures who guide Chiron are still figuring themselves out as well. Few films are able to depict their characters not as “good” or “bad” but as troubled humans just as lost as the rest of us, and that’s where Moonlight shines. I find it funny that critics have called Moonlight the movie of our time, because its portrait of the ambiguity of identity feels particularly eternal.

Rain Man

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Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime

Rain Man has been recently reinterpreted as one of the weaker Best Picture winners in Oscars history. This is fair, in a sense: Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of an autistic man is cringe-worthy on re-watch, and the film also beat out critical favorites like Working Girl and Dangerous Liaisons to take home the top prize. But Rain Man is not a bad movie, and the performance of Tom Cruise in particular stands out. It might not play as well today, but Rain Man is still ultimately a movie worth checking out.