If Netflix is the envy of the entertainment world, it’s not just for its reach and revenues as an app, but the critical acclaim its productions have begun to acquire. Its films have amassed as many as 24 Oscar nominations this year. The two Netflix movies that lead the pack, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, have also been among the most talked about in recent weeks. Both are reckoned to have a good shot at Best Picture. Last year, Netflix came within sniffing distance of the grand prize with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma.
Could this be Netflix’s year at the Oscars? There are big contenders from other studios, no doubt. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the prized statuettes, may find that what’s available on the internet at the tap of a thumb doesn’t just get watched a lot more, it also generates the sort of global buzz that award juries can’t overlook. If Scorsese’s film offers us an America where the personal and the political coalesce to evoke an unlikely empathy, Baumbach’s exposed us to the travails of an institution that’s much older but no less fraught with tension and self-doubt.
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