Why Netflix Wants Oscars Acceptance

The streaming giant used to disrupt the system, but now it seems keen to play by the rules.
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By  · Published on June 10th, 2019

One of the biggest talking points surrounding this year’s Oscars was Roma and whether or not Netflix movies should be eligible for awards contention. Everyone has their own views on this debate, so I won’t go into it here. As rules stand right now, though, movies made for streaming platforms qualify for consideration if they abide by the Rule Two guidelines. Essentially, this means that a film must screen in a Los Angeles County commercial theater for at least seven days, with a minimum of three screenings per day, to be considered eligible for Academy Awards categories.

After Roma‘s success at the 2019 ceremony, it’s unsurprising that Netflix has its sights set on future appearances at the awards show. The streamer has just hired Spencer Klein as the Director of Theatrical Distribution, and his first job will be to handle the theatrical releases of its upcoming awards season hopefuls. With new movies by Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh on the horizon, Netflix will be feeling confident that it can make headlines once again at next year’s event.

Of course, the big question is: why does Netflix care about winning Oscars? The streaming giant has millions of subscribers worldwide and has built its success on its own terms. For a while, the company felt like an exciting outsider and an alternative to traditional systems. Netflix was punk rock, and the Oscars was classical music. These days, though, the streamer wants to be accepted by the status quo just like every other media giant out there.

As the campaign for Roma showed, Netflix is willing to spend millions of dollars to gain Oscars acceptance. It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the most dominant media conglomerates in the world, because the prestige of winning an Oscar is hard to beat. Still, Netflix playing by the Academy’s rules is a great idea since winning more awards will only be beneficial to future company growth.

With so many competitors to contend with in the age of streaming, Netflix needs to stand out from the pack and remain at the forefront of the revolution. Its original content needs to appeal to people, so being the place to view critically acclaimed awards darlings is a strong selling point. Furthermore, making great movies also requires attracting the best talent who can deliver the goods.

Netflix can use its Oscar glory as a means to work with premier filmmakers who can create films for the service that bring in even more subscribers. Granted, the streaming giant has already collaborated with some of the biggest names in the industry, many of whom have won Oscars in the past. That said, there’s always room for more, and awards recognition will further confirm that Netflix is capable of producing prestigious cinema.

Let’s face it — most filmmakers dream of winning an Oscar someday. If working with Netflix seems like a viable way to achieve their dreams, the streamer will continue to lure elite talent into its web. When you consider that the company is also known for affording substantial creative freedom to filmmakers, working with Netflix must be an enticing notion for any writer or director who’s tired of having their artistic vision compromised elsewhere. Overall, it’s a win-win situation.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.