The world’s most popular streaming platform, Netflix, will have to wait at least another year to get Best Picture at the Academy Awards, its top plum. Its rival, Apple TV+, swooped down in January 2021 to acquire the worldwide rights to CODA for a reported $25 million, and which would become the 2022 Academy Awards’ eventual Best Picture winner.
With the CODA win, Apple beat out Netflix as the first streaming platform and tech company to have won the said award – a shining reaffirmation on the significance of streaming services today, if it still needed any.
Netflix has been on the hunt for Best Picture ever since 2018’s Roma got the nomination. Including Roma, there have been seven Netflix films that have been nominated for the award. Here’s the list, including the year of release:
- Roma (2018)
- The Irishman (2019)
- Marriage Story (2019)
- Mank (2020)
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
- Don’t Look Up (2021)
- The Power of the Dog (2021)
Meanwhile, CODA is Apple’s first Best Picture nominee. Launched in November 2019, Apple TV+ first received Academy Award nominations was in 2021: Wolfwalkers for Best Animated Feature and Greyhound for Best Sound. Neither won. This year, Apple received six nominations including CODA’s.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the CODA win, calling it a “profoundly beautiful movie.”
As Variety reported, Cook had also commented in a January 2022 earnings call that gives insight on how the company goes about choosing their content on Apple TV+: “We don’t make purely financial decisions about the content [on Apple TV Plus]. We try to find great content that has a reason for being,”
The two tech companies have also not been shy in campaigning for their Best Picture bets with big dollars. The Wall Street Journal estimated that Apple spent about $10 million in beating the drums for their film while Netflix reportedly spent something in the range of $40 million to $60 million for their first foray in the Best Picture field, Roma, in 2018.
The Wall Street Journal argues, “Even as the Oscars face declining audiences, the awards have taken on outsize importance for streamers that want to prove that they deserve to be taken seriously in the movie business.”
Especially for a trillion-dollar company like Apple (about $2.8 trillion in market capitalization), the millions spent on acquisition and campaigning is chump change that pays its dividends in prestige – and well, real dollars actually in the form of potential new subscribers. Not only that, Variety notes that Apple gains reputational leverage when shopping for deals in the entertainment industry: “The Oscars accolades may incrementally lift Apple TV Plus subscriber numbers, but a more significant halo effect for Apple is the added clout it can leverage in competing for deals with talent and production partners.”
Netflix’s global user base is upwards of 200 million, about 5 times bigger than Apple TV+’s reported 40 million. But clearly, from its efforts these past years, it’s the Best Picture they want – now more than ever after Apple denying them a piece of history. One wonders how Netflix’s non-win will affect its choice of originals and film pick-ups this year – Rappler.com