With its range of Marvel shows, excellent documentaries like Making a Murderer, and series such as House of Cards, Narcos, and Orange is the New Black, Netflix leads Amazon when it comes to original content. But Jeff Bezos’ company now has its rival beat in at least one area: Best Picture Oscar nominations.
Amazon paid $10 million for the rights to independent drama Manchester by the Sea at Sundance last year. An investment that’s paid off, thanks to the movie's six Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, which makes Amazon the first streaming service to receive the coveted nomination.
The Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams vehicle was also nominated for best actor, actress, supporting actor (Lucas Hedges), director (Kenneth Lonargan), and original screenplay.
Netflix found itself on the nominations list, too; Ava Duvernay's 13th was nominated for best documentary feature. The company also received Oscar nominations for two documentary shorts, “Extremis” and “The White Helmets.”
While the quality of Manchester by the Sea can’t be disputed, its Best Picture nomination was likely helped by the way Amazon markets its movies. The firm allows its pictures to be shown in theaters before they arrive on the Prime streaming service, unlike Netflix, which simultaneously streams its releases.
The excellent Beasts of no Nation was boycotted by AMC, Cinemark, Regal, and Carmike Cinemas because of Netflix’s instance that it released on the streaming site at the same time as theaters. As such, it failed to gain an Oscar nomination, despite winning a Golden Globe and critical acclaim.
This year's nominations are a reflection of streaming services’ ever-increasing popularity and influence within the industry. It’ll be interesting to see which categories Manchester by the Sea wins, but it seems likely that Bezos’ desire to win an Oscar will soon be fulfilled.