Netflix is certainly a powerhouse in the entertainment world and this year’s Emmy nominations proved just how solid the streaming service is when it comes to television. Netflix racked up the most nominations, besting even the mighty HBO. But one area where success has eluded the service is when it comes to recognition for its movies. Many in the film industry don’t feel that Netflix movies, like ‘Beast of No Nation’, ‘Okja’ and ‘Mudbound’ should qualify for the Academy Award because they view them as being made-for-TV.
In the past, Netflix has managed to conform to the requirements that their movies must play in theaters for a minimum period of time to be eligible for the Award, but theaters have been resistant because they view Netflix as competition. In order to book a movie in most theaters, it has to ONLY be available in theaters for a period of time, but so far, Netflix has not conformed to that. They release their movies at the same time in theaters and streaming.
That’s what happened in 2015, when Netflix rolled out ‘Beasts of No Nation’. Theaters boycotted it, which resulted in the film dying in limited release and failing to secure any Academy Award nominations.
For their part, Amazon has agreed to theaters’ requirements and have held off releasing movies on Amazon Prime in order to give them a shot in theaters, and now Netflix might follow suit.
Right now, two upcoming Netflix movies, Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ and Paul Greengrass’ ’22 July’ are getting Academy Award buzz, but reportedly the directors are pushing for a wider release, meaning not limiting their theatrical runs to New York and Los Angeles, and allowing them to remain in theaters for a longer period of time.
According to sources, Netflix is considering these requests from Cuarón and Greengrass, but theaters are sticking by their policy of not showing a movie on the big screen when it is available on Netflix. Will Netflix change its policy to appease theaters? That remains to be seen, but insiders say that they are at least thinking about it.
Cuarón’s last movie, ‘Gravity‘ earned the director the Academy Award for Best Director, as well as one for Film Editing. His latest, ‘Roma’ a black and white Spanish-language film is a different type of movie altogether, and obviously one that doesn’t exactly scream box office hit. But should it get a nomination, that might convince people who wouldn’t normally be attracted to this type of movie to give it a shot.
Similarly, Greengrass’ ’22 July’ depicts the 2011 terrorist attack at a Youth Camp near Oslo, where an assailant killed 77 people. This movie takes place entirely in Norway, but reportedly, the dialogue is mainly English with subtitles. The film has already been nominated for Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival, which is a good sign that it could garner even more accolades… if Netflix does what it needs to in order to make it eligible.
Both movies are a bit of a hard sell, which is why they went to Netflix in the first place. But getting nominated for major awards could help generate more interest. And surely the directors want as many eyes on their work as possible. But it would require a major concession from Netflix. So we’ll have to wait and see if the streaming service will budge.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter