And the Oscar (Almost) Goes to… Netflix

The 91st Academy Awards had potential for firsts. Would Spike Lee finally win an Oscar? Would the show be better without a host? Would Netflix win Best Picture—hold on, what?!

In Spanish and shot in black & white, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma was distributed by Netflix. Released theatrically (in a limited number of theaters to qualify for awards), it was the streaming service’s first Best Picture nominee—which was HUGE, not just for Netflix, but for the film industry as a whole. If it won, theater chains could feel a deathblow, demonstrating that even the likes of Mr. Cuaron recognize the power of Netflix, making it easier for them to compete with major studios and competitors introducing streaming services in 2019 (Disney).

Netflix at the Oscars was not new (Mudbound, Icarus, The White Helmets), but it being in the Best Picture race was. Already owning Emmys and Golden Globes, Netflix could now hit for the cycle with an Oscar—and the company really wanted to win. Last winter, it rented two soundstages in L.A for “Roma Experience Day,” where Oscar voters toured a Roma exhibit that had a filmmaker Q&A and themed stickers and chocolates. The film was up for 10 Academy Awards, but everyone was paying attention to Best Picture.

Did it win? It did not. But it came close. While Universal’s Green Book snagged the trophy (not without controversy), Mr. Cuaron took home three Oscars for Roma—including Best Director. With Netflix slated to distribute Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman amongst other films in 2019, there is now an unquestionable shift in the movie biz.

  • BRANDS: Netflix, Roma
  • WHY IT MATTERS: Because the brand that once mailed you DVDs in red envelopes is now a big-time Oscar contender

AUTHOR: Dan Nelsen
ORIGIN: Speaking Human Contributor

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