5 Critically-Acclaimed Movies To Watch For 2024 Awards Season

With 2024’s awards season fast approaching, it’s a great time to catch up on the critically-acclaimed movies that captivated audiences and critics alike in 2023. 

2023 was a great year for cinema with a collection of entertaining, emotionally moving, and critically-acclaimed movies. With 2024 just around the corner, many of the most prestigious film awards will soon be recognizing movies that made this year particularly special. Though The Academy hasn’t released their list of nominees for the 2024 Oscars, the Golden Globes (which will take place on January 7) and Critics Choice Awards (which will take place on January 14) already have. 

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Looking at the common nominees in each award ceremony, one can form a fairly clear idea of the films that’ll make it to the Oscars. Barbie and Oppenheimer lead the competition after setting impressive box office records in July. Unfortunately, both films aren’t available online (yet) for Philippine audiences, and have finished their theatrical runs in the country. 

There are, however, a number of fantastic movies in 2024’s awards season roster that Filipino cinephiles can watch to catch up on all the buzz. Without further ado, here are five must-watch films to add to your queue: 

Past Lives 

Past Lives is the work of writer and director Celine Song, and can only be described as a quietly heart-wrenching film. The movie centers on Nora, a Korean-American woman who moved away from her childhood friend, Hae Sung, when her family left South Korea for the U.S. 

The official poster for "Past Lives"
The official poster for “Past Lives”/Photo from IMDb

Spanning decades and switching from past to present, the story explores the many “what-ifs” of life. When Nora reconnects with Hae Sung 20 years later, she grapples with the concept of fate and destiny, and must confront the decisions she’s made in life and how they’ve shaped her into the person she is. This isn’t a traditional romance where boy meets girl, but rather, a reflection on love’s many facets and nuances—and how happy endings aren’t always what one expects them to be. 

Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo) and Nora (played by Greta Lee)
Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo) and Nora (played by Greta Lee)/Photo from IMDb

Past Lives had a limited theatrical run in the Philippines, though interested audiences can now watch it on various streaming platforms. These include Apple TV, Amazon, and Google Play

Killers of the Flower Moon 

From the moment it hit film festivals and theaters, critics have hailed Killers of the Flower Moon as one of Martin Scorsese’s best works. The film is a loose adaptation of David Grann’s nonfiction book of the same name, which explores the harrowing Osage Indian murders that took place from 1921 to 1926. Though countless Native Americans of the Osage tribe died during this period, the film focuses on the family of Mollie Kyle Burkhart (a role that actress Lily Gladstone plays to perfection). 

The official poster for "Killers of the Flower Moon"
The official poster for “Killers of the Flower Moon”/Photo from IMDb

In the film, atrocities are in plain sight and narratives are told from the perspective of the murderers, making it an incisive and disturbing piece that doesn’t sugarcoat history. Yet with the assistance of the Osage people, Scorsese crafts a moving story that respectfully pays homage to the tribe’s culture and past. 

Ernest Burkhart (played by Leonardo di Caprio) and Molly Kyle Burkhart (played by Molly Gladstone)
Ernest Burkhart (played by Leonardo di Caprio) and Molly Kyle Burkhart (played by Molly Gladstone)/Photo from IMDb

Though its three-hour-and 26-minutes runtime might seem quite daunting, the movie’s pacing keeps viewers enthralled. Like any great piece of art, confronts reality with thought-provoking concepts that will stick with viewers long after they’ve finished the film. Though Killers of the Flower Moon has finished its theatrical run in the country, audiences can watch it on Apple TV, Google Play, and YouTube Movies


Bradley Cooper directs and stars in his film Maestro, a stunning biographical piece that centers on the life of renowned American composer Leonard Bernstein, and his relationship with his wife Felicia Montealegre. Though the couple remain steadfast in their devotion to each other, a variety of circumstances lead to friction within their marriage. 

The official poster for "Maestro"
The official poster for “Maestro”/Photo from IMDb

Besides dealing with the challenges of Bernstein’s ambition and fame, the couple also navigates the conductor’s conflicts concerning his sexuality as he engages in same-sex dalliances. Despite everything, the couple’s relationship evolves and their love (with all its nuances) remains. It’s a narrative that Cooper shows every side of, writes Owen Glieberman in a review for Variety. Renowned filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Stephen Spielberg are also producers on the film according to another Variety article, making it one cinephiles certainly wouldn’t want to miss.

Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan)
Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) and Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan)/Photo from IMDb

The film launched on Netflix on December 20, which means Filipino audiences get to stream it with the rest of the world. 

The Boy and the Heron 

Legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki has returned with his first feature film in a decade, titled The Boy and the Heron [with the Japanese title Kimitachi wa Dō Ikiru ka, which translates to “How Do You Live?”]. The filmmaker stated that it may be his last, though Studio Ghibli’s executives contest this, stating that he’s once again working on the concept of another film. 

The official English poster for "The Boy and the Heron"
The official English poster for “The Boy and the Heron”/Photo from IMDb

The movie is inspired by Genzaburo Yoshino’s 1937 book, How Do You Live, which was an influential piece of literature for the young Miyazaki. The Boy and the Heron centers on a boy named Mahito, whose mother dies in a fire. As with many of Miyazaki’s films like Spirited Away, the movie is a coming-of-age story that grapples with the concept of grief and loss, as well as the hope of healing and growth. The surreal meets the fantastical in usual Ghibli fashion, as Mahito ventures into an abandoned tower with a talking heron, which transports him into another, timeless world. 

Mahito in another world
Mahito in another world/Photo from IMDb

Though The Boy and the Heron isn’t available for streaming yet, CNN Philippines announced that the film would make its theatrical debut in the country on January 8, 2024.

Beau is Afraid

The final movie on the list is one for the psychological horror-lovers out there (as well as fans of filmmaker Ari Aster): Beau is Afraid. Though the film hasn’t received much mainstream attention, critics have praised it for its experimental form and complex narrative structure. It was also a pleasant surprise when the Golden Globes included the film in its list of nominees, a sign for cinephiles to check it out if they haven’t. 

The official poster for "Beau Is Afraid"
The official poster for “Beau Is Afraid”/Photo from IMDb

In a similar fashion as Aster’s other remarkable works like Hereditary and Midsommar, Beau is Afraid delves into the psyche of its characters. In this case, it places focus on an anxiety-ridden and paranoid man named Beau. The story itself is deceptively simple when broken down into its essentials: Beau needs to get to his mother’s funeral. Yet the endeavor tosses him into a surreal odyssey. The film deals with Aster’s common themes of familial conflicts and trauma, but diverges from his past works with a story that’s anything but linear or straightforward. 

Joaquin Phoenix plays Beau, with co-stars Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan
Joaquin Phoenix plays Beau, with co-stars Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan/Photo from IMDb

The film’s perplexing storytelling might not be for everyone, but it may be an interesting ride for audiences searching for something different. Viewers can watch Beau is Afraid on Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play.

Banner photo from IMDb.

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