Last year, Netflix became the first streaming service to contend for a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars with Roma. The presence of Netflix at the Oscars caused a major scuffle in the filmmaking community about the validity of streaming platforms being critically lauded when they were effectively complicit in the dwindling profits of the theatrical industry. Roma went on to win Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, losing Best Picture to Green Book.
But Netflix has come back even stronger in this year’s Oscars nominations, scoring more nods than any other major studio with 24. Following closely behind the streaming platform is Disney, which also owns 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight, with 22 nominations.
Netflix owes much of its recognition to the critical success of Martin Scorsese’s 25th feature The Irishman, which received 10 nominations, and Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story, which received six. Both films are in the running for Best Picture.
The drama surrounding Netflix’s right to compete for awards has quieted down a bit this year, perhaps because a true cinematic hold-steady, Scorsese, championed the platform for being a huge factor in The Irishman’s creation.
But even Netflix suffered some snubs—the Eddie Murphy-starring comedy Dolemite Is My Name received zero nominations. The costume designer for Dolemite Is My Name, Ruth E. Carter, made history last year when she was the first black designer ever to win an Oscar for her work in Black Panther.
Dominating the nominations may not mean much for Netflix in the end. With 16 nominations at The Golden Globes, Netflix only ended up nabbing one win for Laura Dern as Best Supporting Actress in Marriage Story.
But perhaps more important than wins or nominations is Netflix’s reputation when it comes to funding ambitious works by ambitious directors. With the success of Roma, The Irishman and Marriage Story, Netflix seems to be a totally valid platform on which for filmmakers to release their films, regardless of whether they get the most robust theatrical release.