Despite casino movies often flying under the radar, we should remember that most notable titles were produced by some of the best-known Hollywood directors. And the same goes for those who appeared in them.
So why do we love a good casino-themed movie? Is it the flashing lights? The lively music, and suspense that follow a charismatic character overcoming their challenges? Or is it the mysterious world of casinos that we rarely see ourselves, but only hear about?
The casino setting also adds a slightly controversial layer to the storytelling, so perhaps that is the reason we are drawn deeper into the story. We’ll leave that to the experts. Instead, let’s see which casino movies have won the most awards. This might not be the most awarded genre out there, but some of the movies received significant attention from critics.
Casino Royale (2006)
In the world of James Bond movies, Casino Royale stands as a bold reinvention. Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond as a rough, unrefined agent marked a departure from the sophisticated Bond we all knew. Directed with precision and infused with realism, the movie is often touted as one that revived James Bond, kickstarting the entire franchise – from James Bond video games to new free slots to play online. Casino Royale has seen 44 nominations and 28 wins. It won a BAFTA for Best Sound, while Daniel Craig won Best Actor at the Evening Standard British Film Awards, Irish Film and Television Awards, Empire Awards, Sant Jordi Awards, Golden Schmoe Awards, and Russian National Movie Awards.
Martin Scorsese’s 1995 masterpiece stands as a gritty exploration of the gambling underworld. Digging into the underbelly of Las Vegas, the movie was nominated for 11 awards in 15 different categories, ultimately winning 4. Most notably, Thelma Schoonmaker won the Best Film Editing award (20/20 Awards), and Sharon Stone won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture. Martin Scorses won 3rd place at Cahiers du Cinéma for Best Film and Best Director categories. Sharon Stone was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
We remember Ocean’s Eleven as a cinematic triumph that redefined the genre with its blend of action, humor, and impeccable execution. Soderbergh orchestrated a charismatic performance, led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt, who brought a nonchalant coolness to their roles. The movie saw 20 nominations and 4 wins. It snatched the Critics Choice Awards for Best Acting Ensemble (and with every right), ALMA Awards, BMI Film & TV Awards, and the National Board of Review awards for Top Ten Films.
Molly’s Game (2017)
From her early days as a promising skier to her meteoric rise as the organizer of exclusive poker games for notable Hollywood figures, Molly’s story is a tale of ambition, resilience, and the intoxicating allure of power. Molly’s Game is not only a compelling true-crime story but also a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. The movie was praised for its gripping storytelling and stellar performances by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. It received 51 nominations, most notably the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes nominations, with 8 total wins.
The Card Counter (2021)
Haunted by his actions, William Tell (Oscar Isaac) finds solace in the precision and predictability of card counting, using his mathematical skills to gain an edge in high-stakes games. Director Paul Schrader masterfully crafts a suspenseful and thought-provoking narrative, exploring themes of trauma, guilt, and the elusive nature of redemption, while Isaac captures the inner turmoil and the complex relationship between his past and his present. The movie has received 22 nominations, ultimately winning 3 awards, most notably the Top Ten Independent Films by the National Board of Review.