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Streaming movies dominate Oscar nominations in Hollywood’s pandemic year

After a year upended by a devastating global pandemic, it was reasonable to expect some surprises when the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony Monday morning. That prediction proved true, with plenty of firsts and snubs, and the biggest showing to date for films produced by Netflix and other streaming services.

Scheduled to take place April 25, the 2021 edition of the Oscars will happen two months later than last year’s ceremony, and will feature a wide range of films that were produced by streaming services or made available to stream early on due to widespread theater closures over the last 12 months.

After receiving 24 nominations last year, industry-leading streamer Netflix dominated this year’s field of nominees in a big way, netting 35 total nominations across all of the major categories.

The Trial of the Chicago 7
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

In the coveted Best Picture category, two of the eight nominees call Netflix home, with Mank produced in-house by Netflix and The Trial of the Chicago 7 sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures. David Fincher’s Mank, which chronicles screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s development of the screenplay for Citizen Kane, also led all nominees with 10 Oscar nominations in various categories, including Best Director (Fincher), Best Actor (Gary Oldman), and Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried).

Other Netflix-produced projects earning nominations included the animated features Over The Moon and A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, as well as the heart-wrenching animated short film If Anything Happens I Love You, the documentary features Crip Camp and My Octopus Teacher, and the documentary short A Love Song For Latasha.

But Netflix wasn’t the only streaming service with a strong showing in this year’s list of Oscar nominees.

Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Amazon Studios earned nominations in the Best Picture category and two of the four acting categories for Sound of Metal, the story of a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing, and also earned nominations in various categories for One Night In Miami and the comedy sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Outside of the films produced in-house by streaming services or sold to the services by traditional studios, many of this year’s nominees were made available to stream on one platform or another either simultaneous ith their theatrical release or shortly thereafter, making this the first year that most of the major nominees were likely seen by at-home audiences more than theater audiences.

For example, along with the aforementioned Netflix and Amazon Studios films, Best Picture nominees Nomadland and Judas and the Black Messiah have both been available to stream on Hulu and HBO Max, respectively, since their release date or a short time later.

The full list of nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards is available on the show’s official website. The Oscars ceremony will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 25.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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