The Oscars in the age of streaming
The internet has changed everything… from the way we interact and consume entertainment to the Oscars. Films that were once released on the big screen are now being released on almost every screen thanks to streaming channels like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Showmax.
Netflix is now a major contender when it comes to award season, starting with Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, which garnered 10 Oscar nominations last year. Roma became the first film distributed primarily on a streaming service to be nominated for Best Picture, winning three Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film.
This year, Parasite broke records and the dam walls near-exploded with a slew of award-worthy streaming films making their mark.
The Irishman was another massive shake-up for the industry as revered filmmaker Martin Scorsese decided to release exclusively on Netflix. A first-class production, which used de-ageing visual effects, the memoirs of a mob hitman’s friendship with Jimmy Hoffa are elegantly crafted and beautifully realised. Taking the who’s who of gangster Hollywood, the sprawling three-and-a-half-hour epic reunited luminaries: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
De Niro purposefully tones it down with a thoughtful turn, Pesci makes a comeback with a seething career-best performance and Pacino returns to form as the cantankerous powder keg Hoffa. The Irishman was an audacious cinematic feat and all-rounder, earning itself 10 Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Directing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects, Production Design with two Best Supporting Actors.
[Marriage Story] just feels right, unlocking Laura Dern’s long-awaited Oscar on the back of a tough yet sharp performance, and a great year in Little Women and Twin Peaks: The Return.
Then, Marriage Story brought an intercity romance drama to life co-starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, who showed their true worth with nuanced and excellent performances as a couple in the stages of a NY-LA divorce.
Another Netflix release, echoing Kramer vs Kramer, but for a new generation, the film’s independent spirit rippled with life, injecting notes of comedy from Noah Baumbach’s original and spontaneous screenplay. Garnering Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting nominations, with Alan Alda unlucky to complete the acting award takeover, Marriage Story is gripping and palpable, a veritable acting master class.
It just feels right, unlocking Laura Dern’s long-awaited Oscar on the back of a tough yet sharp performance and a great year in Little Women and Twin Peaks: The Return. Picking up Best Original Screenplay, Original Score and Best Picture nominations, it’s one of those relatable yet haunting dramas that resonates long after the credits roll.
The Two Popes landed two big acting nominations for Jonathan Pryce’s tender portrayal of Pope Francis and Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict, who served in a smart supporting role. The respectful two-hander comedy-drama allowed the actors to play to their strengths, sparring with wit, engaging in real world debate and playing to the film’s spirited and entertaining tone.
While The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes served as front runners, Netflix also featured strongly in the Best Documentary and Best Animated Feature categories. The fly-on-the-wall East meets West corporate culture clash, American Factory, won an Oscar for Best Documentary, beating out Netflix’s equally compelling The Edge of Democracy. Then when it came to animation, the mesmerisingly beautiful I Lost My Body and vividly imaginative Klaus were strong contenders, either of which could have won gold.
Starring Taron Egerton in a Golden Globe-winning and career-best performance as Elton John, the music biopic chronicles John’s tumultuous early years. The Rocketman legend, Sir Elton John, was at the Academy Awards ceremony giving a heartfelt acceptance speech to claim his second Oscar for Best Original Song, this time for (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.
It’s amazing to think all of these films (and more) are just a click away.
Seen them all already? Here are a few previous Oscar nominees and winners currently streaming on DStv Now and Showmax.
Previous Oscar winners and nominees on Showmax
More previous Oscar winners and nominees on Showmax
- Straight Outta Compton
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: Into Darkness
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
- The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
- King Kong
- Gangs of New York
- All the Money in the World
- Schindler’s List
- Kite Runner
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Captain Fantastic