In many films, snow, rain, sun or fog may emerge almost as characters in their own right. The elements can help to define mood or reflect the emotional and psychological states of the characters – images of The Overlook Hotel surrounded by snow in The Shining come to mind – *shudder*

So while we’re all snowed in and the whole country is on lockdown let’s have a look at some movies that were acknowledged by Oscar that feature snowy landscapes.

The Gold Rush (1925)

Nominated for 2 Oscars for Sound and for Music

With stunning opening scenes and Charlie Chaplin trekking across icy Alaskan cliffs this epic from the silent movie era is worth its weight in gold. Chaplin even has to eat his boot, but does so in an ever so charming way. As for the “Roll Dance” – genius.


Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Won 5 Oscars out of 10 nominations

Incredibly, most of the snow-covered scenes in Russia were actually filmed on location in Spain, and during the summer months. The film’s most memorable set was unquestionably the ice palace in Varykino.


Misery (1990)

Won 1 Oscar for Kathy Bates as Best Actress

Poor poor Paul. He loses control of his cockadoodie car while driving down a mountain road in a blizzard and winds up in a snowbank. Luckily for him he’s found by his “No. 1 fan” and nursed back to health. Unlucky for him she’s an absolute lunatic madperson.


Fargo (1996)

Won 2 out of 7 Oscars nominations including Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Screenplay for the Coen Brothers

Fargo is “based on a true story” that took place in Minnesota in 1987 and the film uncovers what smalltown life might be like in the frigid winter landscape of Minnesota and North Dakota.


The Revenant (2015)

Won 3 Oscars out of 12 nominations including Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio (finally) and Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu

DiCaprio’s raw performance here is a force of nature. Left for dead by his hunting team after being mauled (and possibly sodomised) by a ferocious grizzly bear he trails on through the wilderness in a tale of betrayal, revenge and survival of the toughest.


It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Nominated for 5 Oscars

It’s A Wonderful Life is one of those movies that improves with age. It’s uplifting but goes darker in that the disillusioned hero is prevented from committing suicide by the intervention of an angel. One of the finest feel-good films ever made.


Winter’s Bone (2010)

Nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay

Set in the Ozarks, in a small community where the meth trade flourishes in a devastated economy of southwestern Missouri. The landscape is bleak and cold, much like the weathered residents that inhabit it. Chilly movie just like the title.


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