Will Streamers Whiff at the Oscars? – The Hollywood Reporter

The Oscars may have lost some of their golden luster — judging by the ratings drop-offs in recent years. But the 13 ½-inch statue remains the biggest validation Hollywood has to offer, surpassing a record-setting box office, huge minutes-watched numbers logged by streamers and a table in the front dining room at hot new restaurant Horses.

When asked that The Hollywood Reporter Asked what words he wanted to speak from the Academy Awards stage in 2015, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos replied, “I want to thank Netflix.” In the years since, he’s heard those words more than once: The powerful streamer has earned 116 Oscar nominations and taken home 16 awards.

But the ultimate award, the Academy Award for Best Picture, eluded him. Could that change this season? The Magic 8 Ball says: “Never mind that.” In fact, the way the competition is shaping up, Netflix — and other streamers like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ — may have a hard time nabbing a Best Picture nomination, let alone a win.

If that proves to be true when the nominations are announced on January 24, it is likely to produce a different scenario than what has been evidenced over the past few years. A handful of indie distributors still commit to theatrical release – even threatening to push out established players entirely.

Amazon became the first streamer to enter the Golden Circle when it earned a Best Picture nomination. Manchester by the Sea In 2017. Netflix has at least one Best Picture nomination, and usually two, since 2019, when it entered the list. Roma. And earlier this year, Apple TV+ became the first streamer to take the top prize when it won with it CODABeating out Netflix nominees in the process, The power of the dog And Do not look up.

But currently, while the 10 Best Picture slots are guaranteed to be filled, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite direction. Theaters are rebounding from their COVID doldrums, and while audiences haven’t fully bounced back yet, big grossers like the Paramount Top Gun: MaverickWarner Bros.’ Elvis and A24’s indie breakout Everything everywhere at once have established themselves as popular hits that have garnered enough critical acclaim to stake a claim. Disney/Marvels Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and 20th century Avatar: The Way of Water Solid dramas like Universal The Fablemans And she said Look right into the wheelhouse of academia. And there’s also a raft of indies that have generated plenty of critical buzz, like Searchlight. Banshees of InishreinFocus Features’ Tar and UARs Women are talking.

In contrast, the hopes of streamers have yet to generate the same momentum. of Netflix Bardo, Blonde And white noise All faced varying degrees of critical resistance on the festival circuit. Netflix to launch Rian Johnson Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery The service will mark its Oscar hopes by premiering at the Academy Museum — with a one-week theatrical run for the first time on Dec. 23 — but the original 2019 Knives out Only earned one nom (for Johnson’s original screenplay), so the new film will have to prove more than just popular entertainment. The streamer is also planning a Best Picture push for Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animated Pinocchio. But while del Toro was an Academy darling – an Oscar winner as a director and producer shape of water – Only three animated films (Beauty and the Beast, up And Toy Story 3) has earned a Best Picture nomination, so the auteur will have to work all his magic to secure a spot for his film.

Meanwhile, Apple resisted offering a surefire contender, Martin Scorsese Killers of the Flower Moon, Paramount is set to deliver the 2022 berth theatrically in favor of sticking with a 2023 release. In hopes of duplicating success CODAIt picked up Cha cha real smooth Out of Sundance and Causeway That precedes the film’s Toronto Film Festival debut, but both are small-scale films that may struggle to make a splash. Thus all eyes will be on Antoine Fuqua’s Slavery action thriller emancipationIt will start streaming on December 9. But since the movie stars Will Smith, Academy voters — some of whom are still smarting from The Slap at March’s ceremony — are facing a bigger question about whether they can overlook that controversy to judge it on its own. Qualifications.

As for Amazon, it held some promise my policeBut the love triangle built around Harry Styles didn’t cause much of a stir when it started streaming on November 4. Now Amazon is looking to remind voters about Ron Howard Thirteen livesFocusing on 2018’s Thai Cave Rescue, it began streaming in August instead of waiting to play major festivals.

Sure, don’t count streamers out completely just yet. They are still poised to make their marks in other disciplines – and can become major players in the feature documentary and international feature competitions. But for Academy conservatives who have resented streamers’ incursion into Best Picture territory and are looking to retaliate, this season could provide the perfect opportunity to put streamers in their place by shutting them out of Best Picture consideration.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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