The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is still trying to figure out just what to do with Netflix and other streaming services. Netflix only bothers to release films theatrically in order to contend for annual awards, television, not theatrical presentation, is always the focus. There’s a feeling among some that Netflix shouldn’t even be able to compete for awards like the Oscars, and yet, for the second year in a row, Netflix will be a contender, having received a number of nominations including a pair of Best Picture nods.
Last year, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma was the major Netflix representative at the Oscars, and the film eventually went home with the awards for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as Best Director for Cuaron. This morning the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced and Netflix had a very good morning, with a massive number of nominations for three separate films, The Irishman, Marriage Story, and The Two Popes.
Both The Irishman and Marriage Story received nominations for Best Picture, making two of the nine nominated films. Heading down the list, Martin Scorsese received another nomination for Best Director for Irishman. The two leads of Marriage Story, Scarlet Johansson and Adam Driver, were both nominated for their respective acting categories. Driver will be competing with Jonathan Pryce for his his role in The Two Popes.
Laura Dern was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category, but the real fight is taking place in Best Supporting Actor. Netflix has three of the five nominees as both Joe Pesci and Al Pacino were nominated for The Irishman, alongside Anthony Hopkins for The Two Popes.
The list goes on. Marriage Story was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, while The Irishman and The Two Popes both got nods in the Adapted Screenplay category. The Irishman also received additional nominations for Best Visual Effects, Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Cinematography, and Production Design. Marriage Story was also nominated for Best Score.
There were also a couple nominations for Netflix outside of these big three movies. Documentary American Factory was nominated in the Feature Documentary category, and finally, something of a surprise on the list, Netflix’s animated Christmas movie Klaus saw a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category.
Of course, even with the odds in Netflix’s favor based on this massive number of nominations, it’s far from a guarantee that Oscar night will be a good night for the streaming service. Netflix had a great morning when the Golden Globe nominations were announced as well last month, but the awards didn’t pan out. Laura Dern’s Best Supporting Actress win for Marriage Story was the only award Netflix won in any of the film categories.
While the Academy may not be quite sure how to handle Netflix, it seems the streaming platform is only becoming more important to the Oscars as a whole. And there’s a plus side for the audience as well. Anybody who has Netflix can now watch these nominees between now and Oscar night. Even if you haven’t watched any of the other contenders, by watching Netflix you can get familiar with some major nominees, which might help the ratings of the award telecast itself.