Dramas, true tales, and inspiring stories: these are the all the kinds of films that make it into the Oscars. Whether you feel as if the Oscars are fair or not it’s a filmmaker’s dream to get up on that stage and accept that award, or multiple ones. The coverage is unprecedented, the fans riot on social media, and everybody waits with bated breath. Will their favorite actor or flick make the cut?
Because only emotional dramas and true stories really make the cut to even be considered a contender for the Oscars, this has led to the changing of the fanbase. A lot of men stay away from Oscar winning films, because most of them involve people crying. Now I’m not saying that all men are insensitive and want only explosions, because there is merit in seeing a beautifully acted cinematic piece. I’m saying that when every Oscar film is like that, it gets hard to really take it seriously.
But even for the most cynical man on the planet, there are some Oscar winners that are right up their alley. No questions on masculinity necessary for these picks, and they’re still fantastic films nonetheless. Without further ado, here are 10 Oscar winning films for the real man. Get ready to embrace some testosterone, cause it’s about to get manly in here.
The three-hour epic starring Mel Gibson as Sir William Wallace is undoubtedly a powerful and heart-pounding adventure. Featuring the war between “Braveheart” Wallace of Scotland and his English overlords, this movie is one that will never be replicated to its full glory. It’s full of intense fight scenes, gruesome bloodbaths, and Gibson at one of the highest points in his career. However, this is not one for the kids, so if you’re going to have guys’ night when you watch this movie, make sure the little ones are already in bed.
9. Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino is considered a legend for his cult masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. Heralded among many lists as one of the best movies of all time, you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth from this one. Featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta as hitmen, their tales are meshed together with an all-star cast of supporting characters, featuring the likes of Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. Another intense flick, there are plenty of profane words to go around, and the kind of action that ensues is unlike anything you’ll ever see again.
8. Schindler’s List
Any film starring Liam Neeson is worth a watch from the male perspective, is it not? Schindler’s List stars Neeson as a man living in the holocaust, but from the outside. Seeing all of the Jews as mistreated and killed as they are, Neeson takes every effort to save their lives and preserve as many as he can. He notably saved hundreds from their fate in the gas chambers, and ended up feeling guilty because he didn’t save more of them. Regardless, seeing Neeson take up the role is a pure delight, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better holocaust movie.
7. Independence Day
The movie won one award, so I’m counting it here. If you haven’t seen Independence Day, then stop reading this article, do yourself a favor, and go watch it. It set the stage for every alien invasion movie to come after it. Featuring Will Smith in the starring role (before he got wrapped up in crappy movies), there is a lot of snark and male power to go around. Jeff Goldblum also does a phenomenal job in this movie. To top it all off, Independence Day features the greatest motivational speech in cinematic history that just makes you say, “America!” We can only hope the long-awaited sequel will be half as good.
6. Men in Black
Another sci-fi film featuring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones that won a single Oscar, this one takes on a whole different tone than Independence Day. Aliens are already living among us and a secret organization knows about them. Some aliens are good and others are bad, and it’s the bad ones that the Men in Black are needed for. The dynamic between the two main characters is incredibly fun to watch, and the amount of “manliness” in this movie can be summed up by the title.
5. Saving Private Ryan
This is a true story about Private Ryan, whose brothers were all in the military along with him. However, tragic battles resulted in each one of his brothers dying, leaving him to be the only surviving member of the Ryan family for that generation. The military then takes it upon themselves to save Private Ryan and bring him home so that his line can live on. A small group of Rangers, led by Tom Hanks, go behind enemy lines to save one man, and what results is both epic and saddening.
If you have a choice to see any movie with Russell Crowe, please make it this one. Gladiator is everything it wants to be and more. Featuring a stellar performance by the entire cast, an amazing score, and an epic scope, Gladiator truly inspires you as it takes you through the fighting arenas and political intrigue of ancient Rome. This movie actually did so well, it defined Crowe’s career for the rest of his life. And it even has lots of gladiator battles and war scenes, so those of you that like action aren’t going to miss out a single bit.
3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Return of the King was a behemoth at the Oscars. It was nominated for eleven Oscar awards, and won every single one of them. It was an epic and satisfying conclusion to the beloved trilogy, and the siege of Minas Tirith is one of the most amazing movie battles ever filmed. The effects were revolutionary for their time, and seeing all of those characters come together at the Black Gate was just unreal and heartbreaking. Did I forget to mention that it also features an army of the dead? This is my personal favorite movie of all time.
2. The Dark Knight
No Oscar list would be complete without this reimagining of the superhero genre. Up until this point, superhero movies had been campy and full of comic book bliss to their very core. The Dark Knight did away with all of that, and instead opted for a realistic take on the Batman. This proved to be the reason the film turned out as great as it did, and that’s not even bringing up Heath Ledger’s iconic performance as the Joker. The large majority of the special effects are all practical, so this movie will age incredibly well. Did somebody say flip a semi?
1. American Sniper
The tale of real American sniper, Chris Kyle, is both a tense and heartbreaking one. He had the largest record for the most confirmed kills of any sniper, despite the odds being stacked against him. He was considered too old to join the military, but did so and succeeded with flying colors. He fought with and lost men just to save his country after the 9/11 attacks. Then eventually, he was able to wind down and settle back home to help other soldiers who suffered from PTSD. He was a true America hero, and deserves a salute from every individual in this country.