By John H. Foote
Last year at this time the streaming giant was concerned with whether or not their Mexican film Roma (2018) would even make the Oscar race, let alone score the most nominations with 10 and go on to win some major Oscars. In the end the beautifully shot black and white film won awards for Best Director for Afonso Cuaron, Best Cinematography and Original Screenplay, both to Cuaron and Best Foreign Language Film, for a total of four in all. Many howled in protest when the film did not win Best Picture, but the giddy head honchos at Netflix thought they did just fine.
This year the company seems poised to dominate the nominations with The Irishman from the great Martin Scorsese; Marriage Story, a powerfully acted and directed drama about the end of a marriage; Uncut Gems, which features an intensely electrifying performance from Adam Sandler; The Two Popes, which features Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins sparring in a great screenplay; and Eddie Murphy in Dolemite, which could snag the gifted comic a nod for Best Actor.
Let’s say everything goes the way of Netflix nomination morning and The Irishman lands between 10 and 13 nominations, Marriage Story scores eight, Sandler gets nominated, and one of The Two Popes and the script is nominated. That is more than 20 nominations for the company, and two of their films look like the kind of films that win Best Picture.
Not too shabby.
Three years ago did they ever expect to be in the Oscar race at all, let alone dominating it?
Now armed with no less than Martin Scorsese’s three and a half hour crime epic, Noah Baumbach’s intensely personal dream of a film, a story of two Popes, and an Adam Sandler we have never seen before, Netflix has arrived!
Should this happen there is no question the landscape of world cinema is destined to change, literally overnight. With their deep pockets Netflix can more than afford the huge budgets some of the directors need for their work. So long as they release their films for the requisite period in a cinema, they will challenge for Oscars.
The film world as we know it is about to change, and the collective experience film was meant to be, is going to disappear a little, bit by bit.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.