Award season is nearly over, so let’s take a look back on some family-friendly films that were deemed the best of the best. From early classics to modern animations, these compelling films were given some of the highest awards in the film industry. 

For the families that want to watch entertaining and quality films, here are our top picks. So sit back, relax, grab the popcorn and enjoy!


1. THE LION KING (1994) - U

This beloved animated feature film is set in a kingdom of lions in Africa and follows the life and adventures of one young lion named Simba.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this Disney classic was not just a fan favourite. In 1995, The Lion King was nominated for four Academy Awards (Oscars). Composer Hans Zimmer won for Best Original Score, and Elton John and Tim Rice won for Best Original Song for the famous and much-loved “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. At the Golden Globes of the same year, The Lion King won the same awards and also took home the award for Best Film: Musical or Comedy.


2. MARY POPPINS (1964) - U

Set in 1910 in Edwardian London, Mary Poppins is a fantastical film that follows the incredible adventures of one magical nanny and how she brings one a family closer together.  

Mary Poppins was met with critical acclaim, receiving thirteen Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Although it lost this category, Mary Poppins won in five others, including Best Film Editing, Best Original Music Score, and Best Visual Effects. Julie Andrews won Best Actress for her role as the titular character, and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” also won Best Original Song.

In 2013, almost fifty years after Mary Poppins’ initial release, the film was still receiving recognition for its legacy and impact in the film industry. Mary Poppins was selected to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry, a body that honours films deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The long-awaited sequel Mary Poppins Returns, released in 2018, has also been a critical success. It received four nominations for the Oscars, including Best Original Score, Best Original Song for “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design.



Directed by Steven Spielberg, E.T. tells the story of an unlikely friendship between human and alien. Elliot befriends E.T., an alien stranded on earth, and tries to help E.T. return to his home planet whilst simultaneously hiding him from the government.

Like many of Spielberg’s films, E.T. was no stranger to the awards buzz. E.T. won Best Picture at the Golden Globes in 1983 and received nine Oscar nominations. Although it lost Best Picture to Gandhi, E.T. won Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects. Like Mary Poppins, E.T. was recognised as an iconic film and was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry.

Why not see E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial In Concert at the Leeds Town Hall with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, as part of #LYFF2019? See more information and get tickets here!


4. OLIVER! (1968) - U

Based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist and the stage musical Oliver!, this revered British musical follows the life and struggles of a nine-year orphan who ascends from rags to riches in Victorian England. Oliver begins life in a workhouse and falls into trouble when he befriends a group of pickpockets and the criminal mastermind Fagin. Ultimately, Oliver manages to leave his life of poverty and criminality behind.

In 1969, Oliver! was nominated for eleven Oscars and won six, including Best Picture, Best Director for Carol Reed, Best Musical Adaptation Score, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound.

The film also received an Honorary Academy Award, which celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing awards. Onna White received the award “for her outstanding choreography achievement”.


5. BRAVE (2012) - PG

Brave is an animated fantasy film set in the Scottish Highlands that tells the story of Merida, a princess who refuses to be betrothed to an unknown prince, which brings a curse on her family and chaos to the kingdom.

Recognised for its compelling story and animation, Brave won the Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for their respective Best Animated Film categories.


6. UP (2009) - U

Up follows the story and unlikely friendship of Carl Fredricksen, an elderly widower, and Russell, a young Wilderness Explorer. The two fulfil Carl’s dream and fly to see the wilds of South America, travelling there in a house suspended by helium balloons.

This heart-warming story was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and won two Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score, winning in the same categories at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.


7. HARRY POTTER (2001-2011) - PG-12

So, as self-confessed obsessive fans of the entire Harry Potter series, it's impossible for us to chose just one here. 

Based on J. K. Rowling’s novels, this magical series follows Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers that he is in fact a young wizard. Throughout his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry makes life-long friends, learns to master his magical abilities, and fights against his archenemy, Lord Voldemort.

In addition to receiving many nominations and awards at the BAFTAs between 2002 and 2012, including wins in Production Design in 2006 and Special Visual Effects in 2012, the series as a whole received an honorary BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2011. BAFTA stated that the film franchise “defined a decade of British filmmaking” and highlighted the wealth of British stage and screen acting talent and the expertise within the British craft and technical industries.

Will this have a place in our cold hearts for the rest of time? Always.


8. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) - U

The Wizard of Oz tells the tale of Dorothy, lost in the magical land of Oz after a tornado ripped through her home in Kansas. With the help of her new friends - the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion - Dorothy searches for a way home.

Although the film is considered one of the greatest in cinema history, it lost the Oscar for Best Picture in 1939 to Gone with the Wind. However, it won Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow” and the composer Herbert Stothart won Best Original Score.

Judy Garland also won a Special Honorary Academy Award – an Academy Juvenile Award – for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile. Garland was only 16 years old when she filmed The Wizard of Oz, but her performance solidified her place as one of Hollywood’s brightest and most talented young stars.




Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an animated musical about a lonely, beautiful princess. When her wicked stepmother orders her death, Snow White manages to hide in the woods and seek refuge with seven dwarfs.

In 1938 at the 10th Academy Awards, Snow White was only nominated for Best Score. However, the following year, the Academy bestowed an Academy Honorary Award upon Walt Disney, recognising Snow White “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon”. The award itself reflected the film, consisting of one statuette and seven miniature statuettes on a stepped base.



Based on the Marvel Comics, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows the adventures of the teen Miles Morales as he becomes the Spider-Man in his reality. Morales encounters five other Spider-Men from other dimensions. They must work together to put a stop to a threat that could destroy all of their worlds.

This new take on a Spider-Man movie has been a hit with both children and critics. It won the BAFTA for Best Animated Film, the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, and it has been nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Keep an eye out for the 2019 Leeds Young Film Festival programme, coming very soon, and see if you can spot which of these films will be playing at the festival which returns for its 20th Edition from 8 - 22 April!