Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oscars: Netflix Faces Another Year of Many Nominations, No Wins, and Millions of Dollars Spent in the Process


How will Netflix fare on Sunday at the Oscars?

Right now, it’s not looking too good.

Though the streaming platform came with quality movies poised for many wins, they may yet again leave empty handed.

This year, Netflix has 37 Oscar nominations. That’s up from 24 last year and 14 the previous year.

But last year, with campaigns designed to win presidencies, they came away with just one winner, Laura Dern as Best Supporting Actress in “Marriage Story.”

The streamer had pinned hopes this year to David Fincher’s “Mank,” but that plan collapsed early. Even Amanda Seyfried’s bid for Best Supporting Actress has fizzled with the rise of Yuh-Jung Youn  in “Minari.” At this point, Netflix would be thrilled for Glenn Close to take a sentimental win in “Hillbilly Elegy.” “Mank” may still pick up Best Production Design.

Their strongest chances are in the lead actor and actress categories. Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman each won Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” As SAG voters comprise a huge chunk of Academy members, the odds are good that one or both actors, Boseman posthumously, could take home Oscars.

For a while it seemed like Boseman, who died tragically young and had a moving story, was a cinch. But Riz Ahmed won last night’s Spirit Award, Anthony Hopkins took BAFTA. So Boseman’s chances are a little iffier.

Davis now seems more likely to grab the gold. But front runner Frances McDormand is attached to “Nomadland,” the presumed Best Picture and could be swept in despite her lack of interest. And Carey Mulligan — who has a strong silent following —  won the Spirit Award for “Promising Young Woman.” So even Davis is a little vulnerable going into Sunday’s show.

If they both win, it will be the first time lead actors win from a movie not nominated for Best Picture.

But for Netflix, it’s Best Picture that remains out of reach. They’re going to lose on Sunday to “Nomadland” despite a valiant effort and many excellent films. Their front runner became “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which won Best Ensemble at SAG but only because “Nomadland” wasn’t really a picture with a group of actors. And “Chicago 7” suffered from not having a lead actor (all the actors went supporting).

In past years, Netflix has aimed high with movies like Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” — great movies, in my opinion, ones we will watch again and again — but no luck. They came thisclose each time. And not for lack of trying. Massively expensive campaigns with clever ideas followed each film. But the Oscar Gods went against them.

On Monday, Netflix starts all over again. Will they surprise us in 2022? As the expression goes, every dog has its day. Netflix’s will come sooner or later.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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