Streaming services are hoping that the 93rd Academy Awards are a sign of things to come? Why? Because movies that debuted solely on streaming services picked up a historic nine Oscars on Sunday night.
By far, Netflix was the biggest winner—the most of any studio, traditional or streaming—with seven Oscars including:
- Best Animated Short for If Anything Happens I Love You
- Best Live Action Short for Two Distant Strangers
- Best Documentary for My Octopus Teacher
- Best Cinematography for Mank
- Best Production Design for Mank
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Best Costume Design for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
But Amazon Studios also helped clinch the historic tally with two wins:
- Best Sound for Sound of Metal
- Best Film Editing for Sound of Metal
However, there is one big caveat to the streaming services’ big night. Traditionally, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has had strict rules in place for the Academy Awards. In order for a film to be nominated, it must have played in a physical theater for at least a week—it could not be a streaming-only movie. Due to the global pandemic, the Academy waived the requirement for this year’s films. As Deadline reports, it’s unknown if the Academy will do so again next year.
But the haul for streaming services is even larger than the official nine wins if you count two other films that won awards last night: Disney’s Soul (for Best Animated Feature) and Warner Bros Judas and the Black Messiah (for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). Both those films did release in theaters, however, both also had a day and date release to streaming services. In other words, Soul debuted on Disney Plus in many markets the same day it came out in theaters and the same for Judas and the Black Messiah on HBO Max.
Industry insiders say the record haul for streaming services many of Hollywood’s top A-list talent might be more willing, if not eager, to sign up to be in streaming-only films in the coming years. That would be a good thing for the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and Apple, but bad for traditional studios and even worse for theaters.