Netflix faces an uphill battle in Oscar season

Photos: Netflix

Joe Reed isn’t just Primetimer’s managing editor. He is also an awards expert and one half of the popular podcast, This Had Oscars Buzz. So who better to weigh up Netflix’s chances at next year’s Academy Awards,

2022, in most respects, has been a really tough year for Netflix. Dave Chappelle’s anti-trans comments, dwindling subscriber numbers, and concerns about whether a tiered payment system (with ads) or crackdown on password sharing could see Dreamer get bad PR, which is simply May be able to stop the tide. The changing reality of the streaming landscape. So it would be a good retaliation for Netflix to be able to go into the fall season with at least some optimism in what has increasingly become an area of ​​strength for the platform: prestige motion pictures. But that may not be in the cards in 2022, as the season’s major film festivals have revealed Netflix is ​​entering awards season with its weakest lineup in years.

At this time a year ago, Netflix was sitting in a familiar position: scrapping fall festivals — traditionally Venice and Telluride in late August, Toronto in early September, and the New York Film Festival in early October — as a major Along with the contenders in the race for Best Picture. Last year, that movie was from Jane Campion. dog power, which replaced the Oscar forerunner and held it for almost the entire awards season. 12 Oscar nominations and a Best Director win for Jane Campion were great, but Apple TV+’s feel-good family drama coda swept in and snatched Best Picture at the last minute, which means Netflix still has never won the Oscars’ top prize.

That kind of expectation game must seem strange for an institution that wasn’t making original movies a decade ago. But Netflix, as is its custom, moved fast, and after a few years, where it looked like Hollywood would be resistant to these streaming antics, the platform began to gain a major foothold in the Oscar race. 2018 was a year of success with Alfonso Cuarón’s acclaimed Roma Landing 10 Oscar Nominations, and 3 Wins (green book won best picture). both in 2019 Irishman (10 nominations) and wedding story (6 nominations) garnered Best Picture, the latter film’s Laura Dern winning Netflix’s first in the acting category.

With the pandemic ravaging the theatrical film industry in 2020, Netflix was poised to dominate. But David Fincher standards (10 nominations) and Aaron Sorkin’s Chicago Trial 7 (6 nominations) was a Best Picture nominee, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (5 nominations) won two awards, Best Picture went to Searchlight/Hulu Nomadic.

Last year marked the third year in a row that Netflix claimed multiple Best Picture nominees: dog power And Adam McKay’s harsh climate-crisis metaphor don’t look up, But once again, the Best Picture win proved elusive.

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To many, a Netflix Best Picture win is looking like an inevitability. But from this early bird perch for several months now, Netflix isn’t looking in favor. In fact, the chances are that if it doesn’t promote very efficiently, Netflix could be out of the Best Picture category entirely for the first time in five years.

The Wild Thing About Netflix’s Roughly Approach This Awards Season Isn’t Like It So Many things went catastrophically wrong. Spring and summer didn’t offer any early year award contenders – nobody liked Dakota Johnson. incentive very much, and much ballyhood gray man was pitched as a summer blockbuster, not an awards play—but that’s par for the course as far as Netflix’s release schedules have historically gone. The streamer targets the end of the year for Oscar contenders, pretty specifically.

Of the films that premiered over the next three-and-a-half months, there was only one film that actually went haywire. WhiteAna de Armas starred in the Marilyn Monroe biopic directed by Andrew Dominic. Originally targeted for a 2020 or possible 2021 release, during De Armas’ high-visibility era (i.e. his relationship with Ben Affleck), you can see why expectations were high. But now, two years later and much confusing buzz about the NC-17 rating, the film’s reception in Venice wasn’t positive, and it’s essentially dead on awards season.

As for the rest of Netflix’s fall slate, it’s a mix of small non-starters, a few movies with high expectations but challenging paths to the Oscars, and a film that could prove to be a big hope for the streamer. Here are his least likely to be nominated:

the good nurse Jessica Chastain is featured in the true story of a nurse who suspects her colleague (Eddie Redmayne) of murder. Following the world premiere in Toronto last week, reviews were neither dire nor particularly enthusiastic, with some critics demanding Chastain win last year’s Best Actress win with a nomination here. (Premier 26 October)

Wonder Director Sebastian Lelio’s latest film a wonderful lady Won the Oscar for Best International Feature for 2017. This led Florence Pugh as a nurse (a theme!) to a small Irish community in the 19th century to observe a young girl who is claimed to have been fasting religiously for months. Is. bad effect. The film premiered in Telluride and then played in Toronto but was easily overshadowed by films with more enthusiastic appeal. Pugh is currently filming Dune: Part Two and keep talking don’t worry darling, so it doesn’t look like he has any plans to campaign for it. (Premier 16 November)

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Lady Chatterley’s lover Stars CrownEmma Corinne as well as Jack O’Connell in this adaptation of the infamous DH Lawrence Smut bonanza. It garnered Telluride to positive reviews, but not much Oscar buzz, and in the old days a studio like Miramax was able to switch horses in the middle of an Oscar race in a way it didn’t expect, Netflix didn’t. It’s actually proven itself to be pretty nimble, so it feels destined to be on the back burner. (Premier 2 December)

all Quiet on the Western Front, written by director Edvard Berger, is the latest adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s World War I novel. It stars German actor Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) and premiered in Toronto last week to some decent reviews, but Our Lady at Telluride, like Chatterley’s, wasn’t able to draw any attention away from the big movies, which doesn’t bode well for an awards push. (Premiers October 28.)

wendell and wilde Director Henry Selick’s latest animated feature is (Nightmare before Christmas, Coraline), co-written and produced by Jordan Peele, who voices one of the title characters, along with his comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key. The film was warmly received in Toronto, even as critics noted its over-packaged narrative (albeit in service of stunning animation). It won’t fight for Best Picture, but if promoted properly, Netflix could certainly snag an Animated Feature nomination. (Premier 28 October)

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Netflix may be a big priority when it comes to animation, as it comes from a recent Oscar-winning director and has a widely known subject matter (unless the public is burned over Pinocchio stories – A lot has happened recently). Netflix’s presence in the animated category is growing rapidly, including last year’s aggressive campaign for The Michels vs The Machines, Competition isn’t particularly strong in 2022, so this could be one area for Netflix to win this awards season. (Premier 9 December)

white noise Noah Baumbach’s third Netflix film, after mayrowitz stories And wedding story, although this is his first adaptation of someone else’s work—in this case, author Don DeLillo’s acclaimed novel of the same name. This was clearly a major awards-season priority for Netflix, complete with a gala premiere in Venice, followed by the New York Film Festival opening in October. But even the positive reviews from Venice (and there were many) were measured and mixed, and other Venice premieres such as Tar And Inishrin’s Banshee Strong Oscar buzz emerged with. Netflix will still work hard for Baumbach as well as lead actor Adam Driver, but for the time being white noise Doesn’t really feel like a Best Picture contender. (Premier 30 December)

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Bardo (False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) Oscar-winner Alejandro G. The latest is the cumbersome title from Inaritu, a highly personal film of reportedly intimidating running time (about three hours) that was thoroughly roasted by critics when it premiered in Venice. Inaritu has previously been called self-indulgent and pretentious, even though he was consistently winning Best Director trophies. birdman And ghost, so Oscar voters may still react to it, but there are some obstacles to overcome. (Premier 16 December)

Glass Onion: Knives Out The Secret As its tough title suggests, it has a sequel knives out, the crowd-pleasing murder mystery of 2019, which earned an Original Screenplay nomination (though nothing more). Writer/director Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig are back with a brand new mystery that’s fresh to best experience, so no details here except that its premiere in Toronto was a drastic success which was later reflected in reviews. it was done. Netflix is ​​facing an interesting awards case glass onion, The fact that a movie is well liked as knives out Receiving only one nomination indicates that Oscar voters went for it only to a point. Does this mean they’ll likewise turn their noses up at another massively lucrative Benoit Blanc mystery? or get the respect for which Johnson enjoyed knives out – which has only increased in the last three years – means that Netflix will try to take advantage of One The movie in his fall arsenal that generated real excitement? (Premier 23 December)

From this vantage point, Netflix only has three even half-realistic expectations for the Best Picture race: white noise (respectable at best, unequal at worst), bardo (despised on Lido but possibly able to inspire equally enthusiastic praise states), and glass onion (Widely, fervently loved, if perhaps subject to genre snobbery). Neither of these films even locked in for a nomination for Best Picture, two nominations that have been ideal. And in a world where Steven Spielberg’s fabelmens, the family of a two-time Oscar-winning director and love letter to filmmaking, took Toronto by storm, is there any room for hope that any of the three might win? It’s a long road to the Oscars, but that road is going to be a much steeper one for Netflix this year.

Joe Reid is the managing editor of Primetimer and co-host of This Had Oscars Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The AV Club and others.

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