On the heels of one of the most unusual and controversial Oscar ceremonies to date, Netflix in the United States is bidding farewell — at least for now — to several previous nominees and winners of note. And it’s your last chance to binge a pair of riveting crime series, as well as a couple of first-rate indies that are well worth your time. (Dates reflect the final day a title is available.)
‘War Horse’ (May 3)
One of the pleasures of observing the career of Steven Spielberg is watching his slow but steady evolution from an effects-brandishing young upstart into a storyteller of the classic Hollywood mold — the kind of filmmaker that he and his fellow “film brats” of the 1970s were perceived as rebuking. But Spielberg always had those traditional instincts (he just dressed them in snazzy new duds), and few of his recent films have underscored that inheritance like his 2011 adaptation of the 1982 children’s novel “War Horse.” This simple story of a boy and his horse recalls “The Black Stallion” (or even Spielberg’s own “E.T.”), but the direct style and unapologetic sentimentality finds the director showing his debt to the cinema of John Ford and William Wyler.
‘Quartet’ (May 10)
Dustin Hoffman was in his mid-70s when he finally took the leap into directing with this 2013 adaptation of the Ronald Harwood play. And he assembled an enviable cast: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly (among others) appear as the residents of a British retirement home for musicians, who revive their glory days once a year for a benefit concert. But old heartbreaks and rivalries resurface with the arrival of a legendary diva (Smith). The stakes are fairly low (and there’s little real doubt to the outcome), but as one might expect from an actor of Hoffman’s caliber, the performers in the film are given ample opportunity to strut their stuff.
‘Sherlock: Series 1 to 4’ (May 14)
The basic premise of this BBC series — which ran sporadically, in short seasons, from 2010 to 2017 — was a simple one: relocating the characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories to modern London and inserting them into a contemporary police procedural series. It could have been a cutesy gimmick, but the series creators, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, cleverly used the tension between the past and present to explore the particulars of these already beloved characters, reframing them into our contemporary understanding of psychology and trauma. Thanks to the feature-length running times and movie star turns by Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, this feels less like a television series than a new franchise, worthy of comparison to the old Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce films from the 1930s and ’40s.
‘Trumbo’ (May 18)
Bryan Cranston nabbed an Oscar nomination for best actor (his first) for his work as the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in this 2015 biopic from the director Jay Roach (“Bombshell”). Trumbo was a prolific writer, industry gadfly and unapologetic communist who found his seemingly unstoppable career on the skids when he and nine other industry figures — the so-called Hollywood 10 — were deemed “unfriendly” witnesses by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The storytelling is overly simplistic, but the bustling supporting cast keeps things lively, particularly Helen Mirren as the notorious gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and John Goodman and Stephen Root as the cigar-chomping exploitation producers who give Trumbo a job when no one else will.
‘American Crime’: Seasons 1 to 3 (May 29)
John Ridley, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “12 Years a Slave,” created this ABC anthology series, which each season tells a different story filled with different…