Two out of 24. The Netflix copy did not convince American cinema. While the streamingplatform could have won 24 statuettes, it only left on Sunday, February 9, with two Oscars. A great failure for the three star-nominated and big-budget super productions.
An online success with 13.2 million viewers in five days in the United States after its launch, The Irishman,by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, did not win any awards despite its ten nominations, including Best Film and Director.
The blockbuster Netflix, with a budget of 160 million dollars, came away empty-handed against the Korean film Parasite, , which was crowned best feature film and director. Another disappointment for the American platform: The two popes, by Fernando Meirelles, with Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, also failed to win an award. Joaquin Phoenix, for his role in the Joker, was awarded the golden statuette.
Of its six nominations, the filmMarriage Story,with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, won only one award, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Laura Dern.
Ironically, she received a hug from Scarlett Johansson, her partner in the $18 million budget film, but her competition in the category, selected for Jojo Rabbit. “Thank you Netflix!” she said, visibly moved, amidst the traditional thanks. This harmless “thank you” illustrates how the streaming platform has made its place among the greats of the 7th art.
More unexpectedly, Netflix won second prize Sunday night in the Best Documentary category. American factorywas produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions, in collaboration with Netflix, and has already won an award at the Sundance Festival. The documentary, directed by filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, follows the epic story of auto workers in Ohio, USA, who were laid off during the 2008 recession and then bought out by a Chinese company.
On the question of whether Netflix is legitimate to compete for the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, composed of 8,500 voters, had decided in April 2019. The only condition? That the film be shown for “a minimum of 7 days in a Los Angeles theater, with at least three paid screenings per day“.
This growing importance reflects the evolution of the cinematic medium. Between 2015 and 2018, movie theatre attendance by 25-49 year olds decreased by 20%, according to figures from the National Film and Moving Image Centre (CNC).
More and more people are turning their backs on movie theatres, preferring video on demand, which will account for 60% of the video market in 2018. In addition to attendance, film production is also suffering from the fierce competition from streaming. When Netflix invests €17 billion in production, the CNC spends €1 billion. The fight is therefore unbalanced.
Nevertheless, the very deep pockets of Netflix don’t seem to be able to solve everything. So far, Netflix has been nominated more than other studios. At the Golden Globes, the streaming service could have won 17 awards and finally only one, this time awarded to Laura Dern for her role in Marriage Story. History repeated itself for the Screen Actors Guild ceremony, with seven nominations and only one award in the end. Still for Laura Dern.
For the Oscars, Netflix had bet big, really big. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US giant has invested about $100 million in various lobbying campaigns, with the majority of the funds going to The Irishman and Marriage Story. Now we know how successful it has been.
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By way of comparison, the more traditional studios spend between $5 million and $20 million per film on this type of campaign.
Scott Stuber, head of original filmmaking for Netflix, said the estimate was far too high and that his company’s investments have been “very relevant”. Considering the results, maybe not so much…
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter and The Wall Street Journal