Despite allowing millions of households to kill the cable bill once and for all, streaming video still has a long way to go in terms of having the critical acceptance that traditional film and television media do. Some of the best examples of this are the A-list awards ceremonies, many of which have yet to come to terms with the fact that streaming services are now attracting top talent to direct, produce, and star in films and series. This year looked like it could have been the year for that all to change when streaming powerhouse Netflix was nominated for a record 24 awards at the 2020 Oscars. Despite the high numbers of nominations, however, Netflix walked away nearly empty handed, winning just two awards. How much longer until streaming services are able to win big at awards ceremonies?
Netflix had a strong presence at the 2020 Academy Awards, led by the Martin Scorcese film The Irishman. The 2019 film cost $175 million to produce and brought in 10 total Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and two nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Despite the huge nomination tally, The Irishman failed to win any awards.
The Netflix exclusive film Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach’s somber look at a young couple navigating a messy divorce, was nominated for a total of six Academy Awards. One of Netflix’s two wins came as a result of the film, as legendary actress Laura Dern won for Best Supporting Actress.
Netflix’s other win at the 2020 Oscars came for American Factory, a documentary exploring the cultural clashes which occur as a Chinese billionaire opens a factory in an abandoned General Motors facility in Ohio. The film, produced by Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company Hither Ground, won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.
According to the New York Times, Netflix spent a total of $70 million on awards-oriented marketing ahead of this year’s Oscars. How much longer will Netflix keep throwing massive amounts of cash at awards ceremonies? Do cable cutters really look for award winners when choosing a streaming service?