Netflix Goes Against The Stream With Its First Best Picture Oscar Nomination
Sometimes, a little money — well, maybe a lot of money — can go a long way.
Netflix has spent billions of dollars acquiring and producing content, and hundreds of millions more promoting those movies and series. Its marketing campaign for this year's Academy Awards spared little expense — the company even bought up one of Hollywood's leading Oscar strategy firms.
And on Tuesday morning, Netflix's investment paid off — at least with a lot of Oscar nominations.
Alfsonso Cuarón's black-and-white, Spanish-language memoir Roma, tied for the most nominations (with The Favourite) with 10, bringing Netflix its first best picture nod. Notably, the film has no reported box office grosses —a remarkable footnote in the history of the Academy Awards.
The streaming service's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs also performed surprisingly well, grabbing three nominations, including best adapted screenplay and original song. All told, Netflix collected 15 total nominations, more than it had in all the previous four years in which it submitted movies for Oscar consideration.
At the same time, what Netflix gained meant that other studios and their films lost.
While many Oscar prognosticators have said for months that Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born was the leading contender for the best picture Oscar, its chances were dealt a huge blow when Cooper was not nominated for directing the film, and the film was not shortlisted for editing — a critical Academy Award bellwether for a best picture win.
Oscar voters nominated eight movies for best picture (they can choose as many as 10), meaning that several films on the bubble, including Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place and If Beale Street Could Talk were left on the sidelines.
The best picture picks are Black Panther, BlackkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born and Vice.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has for the last several years added more than a thousand new members, almost all of them younger and more diverse than the organization's veteran voters.
And those new members made their voices heard in several ways —recognizing Yorgos Lanthimos' genre-bending historical film The Favourite with 10 nominations, and giving Adam McKay's polarizing political tale Vice eight nominations. They are both nominated for best director.
At the same time, some movies that were considered heavy favorites —and may have appealed to older viewers — were left out, including the Fred Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor. Instead, the voters in that category honored a film that would have seemed like an Academy Award longshot just a few years back: the gravity-defying mountain-climbing film Free Solo.
There were a few surprises in the acting categories. John David Washington did not receive a best actor nomination for BlackkKlansman, while Sam Rockwell was a mild surprise pick for supporting actor for Vice. And Marina de Tavira, considered an unlikely contender, earned a best supporting actress nomination for Roma.
The Academy Awards will be presented on Feb. 24, apparently with no single host. After original host Kevin Hart left the ceremony in a dispute over his homophobic tweets and jokes, the Academy has been unable to replace him.