2019 is not Netflix’s first dance with the Academy Awards, but it is the company’s most significant year at the Oscars. The streaming service is up for 15 nominations in some of the industry’s most important categories.
Two Netflix films (Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) were recognized in major categories like Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Director. Alfonson Cuaron’s Roma is even up for the crown jewel – Best Picture.
Netflix’s Oscar History
This is a departure from Netflix’s usual showing at the Oscars. A typical year sees nominations in less-heralded categories. For example, the documentary End Game represents the fifth time in three years that a Netflix production was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject.
2019 was surprisingly the first time since 2014 that Netflix was not nominated for Best Documentary feature. Both documentary categories represent Netflix’s only two Academy Award wins: Icarus and The White Helmet.
Before this year, the company’s only major nominations were for the film Mudbound in 2018. The movie received nominations in four categories – Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Original Song, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
What These Oscar Nominations Mean For Netflix
Despite creating viral sensations like Stranger Things and Orange Is The New Black, the bulk of Netflix’s original programming is Fuller House and documentaries. This is why the company spent $100 million on non-exclusive streaming rights for Friends. It needs valuable content.
Oscar nominations give Netflix sorely-needed credibility as a content mill. In order to compete with the bottomless pockets of Amazon Studios, Netflix has to up their game and be regular contenders for Emmys and Oscars.
The awards are one more reason to subscribe. When looking at your monthly bills, it is harder to say that there isn’t anything good on Netflix when they are up for golden statues every year.
The significance of good content can be measured in more ways than trophies. Mindy Kaling received a $13 million deal for the Sundance comedy Late Night. Imagine what Roma is worth to Netflix if it wins Best Picture.
The Oscar Odds of The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is my favorite film of 2018. The Western places six short films under the umbrella of one anthology movie. The unusual concept sports a talented cast that includes James Franco, Stephen Root, Tom Waits, and Zoe Kazan.
The film’s most high-profile nomination is for Best Adapted Screenplay. The challenging category includes BlackKklansman and Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Coen Brothers films have been nominated for an incredible 48 Academy Awards. Joel and Ethan Coen have captured two in writing categories. There is a good chance that 2019 is their third win for a script because of the story’s unique nature.
Another nominee for The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs has lesser odds at taking home its award. As memorable as the song “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” is, the piece has little chance to win Best Original Song. That honor will undoubtedly go to A Star Is Born’s “Shallow.”
The film is unlikely to secure the win for Best Costume Design. That category will probably go to the incredible costumes used in Marvel’s Black Panther or the period piece The Favourite.
What Awards Will Roma Win?
Director Alfonso Cuaron’s depictions of the hardships of a domestic worker in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City is an undeniable artistic masterpiece.
Heightened by breathtaking black and white cinematography, Roma mostly centers on the arduous pregnancy that Cleo Gutierrez has to navigate by herself. It also shows the disintegration of the family that employs her due to an affair. This not only provides a view of different Mexican classes, but also relays the trials of two women.
Roma has a strong chance at winning for Best Cinematography. Every shot and scene are breathtaking. Since Alfonso Cuaron served as director and cinematographer, his work has the most obvious impact on the success of his film. That combination may push him to win Best Director as well.
Yalitza Aparicio faces tough odds to take home Best Actress. Not only does she have to contend with heavyweights Lady Gaga, Melissa McCarthy, and Olivia Colman, but the likely-snapping of Glenn Close’s record streak of being the actor with the most nominations to not win an Academy Award is another challenge Aparaicio will have to overcome.
Marina de Tavira also faces a stacked category in Best Supporting Actress. She has slightly better chances than Aparicio. With Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz being nominated for The Favourite, both actresses may split the vote. de Tavira’s stiffest competition comes from Amy Adams. The perennial nominee was sensational as Lynne Cheney in Adam McKay’s Vice and may finally win the award on her sixth try.
Can Roma Win Best Picture?
Best Picture is a tall challenge for any film not riding a Titanic wave. According to SBD’s Academy Awards odds tracker, Roma, which now has the shortest odds at -300, is tracking as the Best Picture favorite.
With popular films Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody receiving surprising attention, Roma is the art house community’s leading representative in the Best Picture category.
In a year where the Academy has expanded its ranks to include diverse membership, critical favorites may not dominate the vote as they have in past years.
The film has not captured mass attention like those other titles, but the gravity of the story and mastery in which it was told give Romaa legit shot at being the first Foreign Language Film nominee to win Best Picture.
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