7 Jewish Films to Watch Before (And After) the Oscars

The films that will put you in the mood for Hollywoods biggest night of the year.

Amy Winehouse at her home in Camden, London in 2004.
JTA/Mark Okoh-Contemporary Jewish Museum

JTA - Hollywoods biggest night of the year is Sunday, and quite a few talented Jews should be practicing their Academy Awards acceptance speeches.

If you didnt catch all 57 of this years nominated films in theaters, theres still time to do some Jewish Oscar prep online. Just grab your laptop, a Wi-Fi connection and Netflix and Amazon Prime logins.

These Jewish films are worth streaming before the stars hit the red carpet — and even after.

1. Ida

Ida trailer YouTube

Possibly the biggest Jewish story of this years Oscars is Son of Saul, a haunting Hungarian film about a Sonderkommando charged with disposing of the dead at Auschwitz. If the film meets award expectations, this will be the second year in a row that an unconventional take on the Holocaust wins best foreign film. Last years winner, Ida, is about a young would-be Polish nun who, before taking her vows, must explore her familys dark Jewish past.

Available on: Netflix

2. Inglourious Basterds

Michael Fassbender is nominated for best actor for his title role in Steve Jobs. He plays an equally ruthless hero in 2009s Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantinos gory World War II revenge fantasy. A suave British soldier, hes sent to help a troop of American Jewish soldiers see through their ultimate mission: assassinating Adolf Hitler, and any other Nazi in their path.

Available on: Netflix

3. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Best animated film nominee Anomalisa proves once and for all that Charlie Kaufman isnt afraid to take puppets having sex seriously. In Confessions of Dangerous Mind, from 2002, Kaufman drops early hints as to his capacity for bizarre inventiveness. Written by him and directed by George Clooney, the black comedy follows Chuck Barris as he navigates his double life as a Jewish gameshow host and CIA assassin. Though the plot reaches absurd heights, Kaufman was reigned in by the fact that he was telling a true story.

Available on: Netflix, Amazon

4. Greenberg

Greenberg trailer. YouTube

Jewish best actress nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a killer you love to hate in The Hateful Eight. Fans of her work in the the Tarantino Western may appreciate Greenberg, which she co-stars in and, with then-husband, director Noah Baumbach, wrote. The 2010 film features similarly well-drawn and unlikeable characters — only with more Jews and less bloodshed. The gore is all internal. Stick around for a cameo by Brie Larson, the favorite to win best actress this year.

Available on: Netflix

5. Amy

Amy trailer. YouTube

 Amy does something unexpected: It takes a tragic and troubled singer and turns her into the Jewish girl next door. Using previously unreleased footage and music, the best documentary favorite looks beyond Amy Winehouses trademark hairdo and tabloid misadventures for a tender and unflinching examination of her personal life and inner demons. Also streamable is Amy competitor for best documentary Winter on Fire, a Russian-Israeli directed film about Ukraines revolution on Netflix.

Available on: Amazon

6. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Before directing this years best film nominee The Martian, Ridley Scott took on one of the most Jewish stories of all time: Exodus. Christian Bale (now a best actor nominee for The Big Short) plays Moses in 2014s Exodus: Gods and Kings — an epic that seeks to recapture the magic of old-Hollywood classics like The Ten Commandments and Spartacus. Written by Schindlers List scribe Steve Zaillian, the film gained some notoriety for its cast of nearly all white actors, a controversy that should be familiar to anyone following the 2016 Oscar race.

Available on: Amazon

7. Barton Fink

Barton Fink trailer. YouTube

Joel and Ethan Coen could win their third best film Oscar for this years Bridge Of Spies. If you want to know why thats ironic, watch Barton Fink. The 1991 film follows a Jewish playwright who gets a horrifying insider look at the Hollywood machine he never really wanted to be a part of. As this years Oscars rattle into their third hour, you may find yourself empathizing with young Barton.

Available on: Amazon