Just a few years ago, the notion of a Netflix movie winning an Academy Award in the prestigious “Best Picture” category seemed far-fetched at best. And yet, here we are, entering the awards season with not one, but multiple Netflix films vying for top honors at the Golden Globe Awards — and that could mean big things for the streaming service in this year’s Oscar race.
Historically, the Golden Globe Awards have accurately predicted the winner in the Oscars’ Best Picture category 43 times out of 65 possible opportunities. That’s a success rate of a little more than 66%, which isn’t too shabby.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the Golden Globe Awards have two chances to pick the winner each year, since it awards films in both the “Drama” and “Musical or Comedy” categories — although it’s the drama group that overlaps most often with the Oscars’ Best Picture nominees.
This year, three of the five Golden Globe nominees in the drama category are Netflix films: Martin Scorsese’s mob drama The Irishman, Noah Baumbach’s relationship drama Marriage Story (see above), and the biographical drama The Two Popes. In the musical and comedy category, Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite is my Name is also nominated for a Golden Globe.
Based on odds alone, the Golden Globe Awards have put Netflix in a very good position to take home its first Best Picture Oscar — but that’s not the only factor working in the streaming service’s favor.
Already one of 2019’s most lauded films, The Irishman also happens to be directed by one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of all time, Martin Scorsese. The veteran director is currently tied for second on the all-time list of Best Director nominees at the Academy Awards, with his eight nominations in the category ranking only behind the 12 that William Wyler received. (Scorsese remains tied with eight-time nominee Billy Wilder on that list, but could take sole control of second place with an Oscar nomination this year.)
So how do “Best Director” nominations relate to Best Picture wins? Well, the two categories are linked pretty closely, it turns out.
Of the 91 films that have won Best Picture” Oscars the directors of those films have won the “Best Director” Oscar 65 times. That means that the film made by the winner of the Best Director Oscar takes home the top prize at the Academy Award more than 71% of the time.
Netflix has also seemingly stacked the deck when it comes to Oscar winners and nominees in the casts of the four films vying for Golden Globe Awards. The cast of The Irishman alone has taken home four Oscars collectively, while the other three films feature a long list of past nominees and one winner: The Two Popes co-star Anthony Hopkins.
So, although the Golden Globe Awards aren’t a surefire predictor of the Academy Awards’ top honor, there’s a lot to suggest that this year’s “Best Picture” Oscar could be headed to a Netflix movie.
A win at the Golden Globe Awards could make that possibility even more likely for one of the streamer’s projects, setting up this year’s ceremony as a particularly important one when it comes to the balance of power in Hollywood.
The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, January 5, on NBC.
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