Adam Sandler found love today in Cannes with Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.” The New York Woody Allen-ish comedy was a hit on the Croisette by all accounts. Sandler, Ben Stiller and two time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman are all being celebrated.
But “The Meyerowitz Stories” is being released by Netflix, which may kill its Oscar chances no matter how enthusiastic the notices. Netflix will release the movie the same day it goes out on their service. And while their Oscar eligibility will remain intact, Academy voters may not care.
This was the case a couple of years ago for the much praised “Beasts of No Nation.” That film received great reviews, kudos all over, and some awards response, especially from the Screen Actors Guild. SAG nominated “Beasts” for Best Ensemble, which led many of us to think an Oscar nod for Best Picture was coming. Alas, “Beasts” got no Oscar nominations, not even for Idris Elba, who won the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor.
“Meyerowitz” faces an uphill Oscar battle as does Netflix’s coming release “War Machine” with Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, and Tilda Swinton. Of course, “War Machine” is not going to get Oscar type reviews (although at least one person I know really liked it). A private screening in New York excluded press– insiders say because of Brad Pitt’s current problems not because the movie is bad. Netflix isn’t touting “War Machine” in Cannes.
The tug of war over TV platform releases and theatrical releases is just beginning. Netflix is more vulnerable than Amazon, which seems to honor the movie release (maybe because their execs come from studios). It’s ironic for Sandler, who gets no respect as an actor but has finally found some today. Of all the “Meyerowitz” actors, my guess is Dustin Hoffman will have the best shot at overcoming Academy prejudice.