In recent weeks, she had become the big favorite to win the jackpot, even though she was only nominated for three categories (which she has also won: Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay). ‘CODA’, the story of the only person with hearing in a deaf family, has conquered the Academy with its integrating message and its bright tone and for all audiences. But it also helps to understand a few things about the preeminence (in the face of the industry, at least) of the platforms of streaming.
‘The power of the dog’, Netflix’s option this year to sweep the Oscars (as it had been doing in recent months in other awards, such as the BAFTAs) has finally been a disappointment: twelve nominations, an award for Jane Campion as director . A disappointment almost comparable to the debacle of ‘The Irishman’ a couple of years ago (ten nominations, no awards) or ‘Mank’ last year (ten nominations, two technical awards), but reinforced because Campion’s western did prefigured as one of the favorites.
Gone are the days when Alfonso Cuarón, starting with ten nominations, won three very important awards with ‘Roma’. Although it was close to the award for Best Film, it won the categories of Best Foreign Language Film, Best Direction and Best Cinematography. At that time, Netflix gave a fist on the table and each year it presented itself as a firm contender – not without some previous hesitation on the part of the industry – to sweep the Oscars. To his credit, since then, there are a few main awards, but not the Best Picture.
For this reason, it is as amazing as it is significant that Apple TV +, a streaming platform with the same ambition but much less media, has become the first in history to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It should be clarified, however, that ‘CODA’ is not produced from scratch by Apple, but rather is a collaboration between the French Vendôme Pictures and Pathé Films to release films in English (in fact, ‘CODA’ is a remake of the gala ‘The Belier family’).
Apple’s future as a producer is worth 25 million
But his impact at Sundance led Apple TV + to pay the festival’s record amount of 25 million dollars for its exclusive distribution on the platform. This “first time” for Apple TV + is also for the Sundance festival, which had never seen a film premiered at the festival take the grand prize of the Oscars, with what this represents as a milestone for independent cinema. Finally, another historical novelty, this one more anecdotal and focused on the Oscars: it is the first time that the Best Film has been won by a production not nominated for direction and editing.
Where Apple has participated (with which the weight of the platform can be considered essential when it comes to winning the prize) is in the inevitable promotion campaign for academics. ‘The Wall Street Journal’ calculated that Apple had invested approximately ten million dollars in the promotion of the film in that sense, which equals or even exceeds the more or less similar amount that is estimated for its production budget.
We have been warning about the extraordinary quality of Apple TV + productions for some time, far above Netflix’s achievements in that regard. Series like ‘Separation’ (already clearly one of the indisputable series of the year) and films like the extraordinary ‘Swan Song’ (if you ask us, higher than any nominee for Best Picture this year) endorse Tim Cook’s words last January 27, in the earnings report to shareholders: “We do not make purely financial decisions about the content on Apple TV +. We try to find great content that has a reason for being.”
Following the awards, Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s Worldwide Co-Head of Video, stated, “On behalf of all of us at Apple, we are very grateful to the Academy for honoring ‘CODA’ tonight. We join our teams from around the world to celebrate Siân, Troy, the producers, and the entire cast and crew for bringing such a powerful representation of the deaf community to the audience, and breaking down so many barriers in the process.” It is clear that Apple has become a major competitor in Hollywood’s grand creative scheme.
That does not leave Netflix out, despite the fact that the failure of ‘The power of the dog’ must be added to ‘Don’t look up’ (four nominations, no award). Don’t forget that last year, Netflix made history by adding more Oscars than any other production company, thanks to the combined action of ‘Mank’ and ‘The Mother of Blues’. It was the first time that a platform streaming reached this milestone.
Apple TV +, in this way, adds to his sure aspirations for other years to scratch an Oscar to add to the excellent reviews that his films garner. And Netflix, with total security, will continue to produce cinema openly oriented to the awards season. Whoever wins wins, what is confirmed is that streaming platforms have become a critical force in understanding power struggles among the Hollywood studios, prevailing over established but stagnant brands in the past.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism