Streaming platforms consolidate with the Oscar for “CODA”

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Overshadowed by Will Smith’s slap in the face of Chris Rock, the Oscars ended with a historic victory: a streaming company won the statuette for best picture.

If Smith hadn’t attacked Rock, Apple TV+’s triumph with “CODA” would have been the most talked about topic of the ceremony, since it was the big studios that always walked away with the biggest prize in Hollywood.

“It’s clear that streaming services would break the barrier, and I think that’s an important thing,” said Kendall Phillips, a Syracusse University professor specializing in pop culture.

“I think it will pave the way for a lot of other movies to be taken seriously by Academy voters.”

Months before the ceremony at the Dolby Theater, the growth of streaming platforms and the quality of their content were one of the main conversations ahead of this year’s Oscars.

The specialists saw as a great candidate the production of Jane Campion, “The power of the dog”, a Netflix production that addresses toxic masculinity in the western United States in the 1920s.

The western starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a sexually repressed cowboy had been heavily promoted by the streaming giant seeking the Hollywood seal of approval.

Streaming platforms stormed the major Hollywood awards in 2017 when “Manchester by the Sea,” starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, was nominated for best picture. Stefani Reynolds AFP/Files

But “CODA” grew like wildfire, and audiences were touched by a loving cast and its message of hope through the adversities faced by a deaf family.

constant presence

Streaming platforms stormed major Hollywood awards in 2017 when “Manchester by the Sea,” starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, was nominated for best picture.

She was defeated by “Luz de luna” at the ceremony in which “La La Land” was incorrectly announced as the winner.

Since then, Netflix has become a constant presence in the Oscars’ biggest category, with productions like “Rome,” “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” “Mank,” “The Trial of the 7 Chicago” and “Don’t Look Up”.

The Apple TV + platform is a newcomer to the Oscar awards, but it was the first of its kind to win the statuette for best film
The Apple TV + platform is a newcomer to the Oscar awards, but it was the first of its kind to win the statuette for best film Patrick T. FALLON AFP/Files

Over the past seven years, Netflix has garnered more nominations than any other publisher. This year alone he totaled 27, but he only won one: the best director for Campion.

By contrast, Apple TV+ received its first Oscar nomination last year and this year won three of the six categories it was up for.

The specialized publication Variety said that Apple invested more than 10 million dollars in its Oscar campaign, almost the same as it cost to film “CODA”.

Netflix was not far behind and spent a lot on its bet to be crowned with the golden statuette: Los Angeles was wallpapered with movie posters for months. But for some specialists it was a lot to digest.

“Everywhere you went in Los Angeles you saw a billboard saying it was ‘Best Movie of the Year,'” one anonymous director told Indiewire. “If anyone is to blame, it’s Netflix itself for pushing so hard with this movie.”

Modern Medici family

There were also off-the-record complaints from some Academy members who felt they couldn’t vote for a streaming movie due to some general rejection of that format.

Many filmmakers lament the lonely experience of watching productions on a small screen at home, and speak wistfully of the theater experience alongside other movie lovers.

This nostalgia was registered with the speech of Kevin Costner, one of the most eloquent of the night, announcing the Oscar for best director.

“A while ago I was a child too, in that magical castle of history and narrative, my seat was in the flickering darkness of imagination,” he said.

But audiences ultimately favor content, says Professor Phillips, and broadcast platforms do the trick.

“It’s very difficult to determine where a movie is coming from, whether it’s from a streaming production or from a big studio. Those lines will probably be blurred forever,” he said.

Audiences who went to see “CODA” in theaters are not interested in knowing who made it, he said.

“That border, where on one side is the theater experience and on the other side is the home streaming experience, I think will probably never be reset, at least to the way it was, for many decades,” he added.

Director Jane Campion believes that Netflix's investment in streaming allows quality films to be made
Director Jane Campion believes that Netflix’s investment in streaming allows quality films to be made VALERIE MACON AFP/Files

The filmmakers themselves are less and less worried about this.

“Netflix is ​​not what I would have wanted historically, but it’s a bit like the Medicis of our time,” Campion told the Los Angeles Times last year, referring to the influential family that patronized Renaissance artists.

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