And the Oscar goes to… Netflix?


Jared Greenspan and Adam Holtzman

That’s right. Netflix has come a long way since its creation in 1997 as an online DVD rental store. Ahead of the 91st Academy Awards, Netflix, six years removed from producing its first self-commissioned original content, received 15 total Oscar nominations for its films—the highlight being Roma’s nomination for Best Picture.

Netflix’s 15 nominations are split among four films: Roma, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, End Game and Period. End of Sentence. Before this year, only 11 Netflix-produced features had ever received Oscar nominations, with Mudbound being the sole recipient.

Netflix’s recent success should not come as a surprise, as the company has invested increased sums of money into the production and promotion of original content. In 2018, Netflix spent a grand total of $12 billion on its productions, up from $9 billion in 2017, according to Wall Street analysts predict that the figure could rise as high as $15 billion in the upcoming year, indicating that Netflix has no plans of slowing down. For Netflix, spending so much money is a risk well taken, as the company is destined to contribute artistically to the film industry with an influx of new ideas and techniques.

Best Picture nominee Roma exemplifies Netflix’s willingness to divert from the traditional Hollywood norm, as it is entirely in Spanish. The idea is unique to Hollywood and has paid huge dividends: Roma tied the record for the most Oscar nominations for a film not in the English language. Moving forward, Netflix would be well-suited to continue diversifying its platform, a step already partially established with the company’s presence in over 190 countries.

The company has also found success in its embrace of more creative avenues. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch has garnered rave reviews as an interactive TV show, and the psychological thriller Bird Box captivated the Internet. In this prosperous era of Netflix, it seems as if a new must-watch feature is debuting every week, adding excitement to what can be a homogenous industry.

Regardless if Netflix takes home any Oscars this year, it is clear that the company has certainly cemented itself as a formidable competitor in the film-production industry, with more success destined to come.