Netflix finally broke its Oscar curse with 15 nominations, including its first for best picture and some surprises

  • Netflix was nominated for 15 Oscars on Tuesday for its movies “Roma” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
  • “Roma” led the nominations with 10, and “Scruggs” was nominated in three categories.
  • The streaming giant overcame criticism throughout the awards season to become an Oscar favourite.

It’s been a long road to this year’s Oscar nominations for Netflix, but the streaming giant pulled off over a dozen nominations when they were announced on Tuesday.

Netflix received a total of 15 nominations, including its first for best picture for Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma,” which led the nominations with 10 (tied with “The Favourite”). “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” received three nominations, and Netflix got two noms in the category of documentary short subject.

Read more: Here’s the complete list of the 2019 Oscar nominations

The love for “Roma” is strong heading into the 91st Oscars next month. Cuarón won the Golden Globe award for best director and is the front-runner for the Oscar, which would be his second win in the category. “Roma” was also nominated for original screenplay, positioning it as a strong contender for best picture.

But in a less predictable move – and a sign that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, isn’t holding any grudges against Netflix – Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for best lead actress and Marina de Tavira for best supporting actress.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Scruggs” was nominated for best adapted screenplay, costume design, and original song.

Netflix’s two nominations in the category of documentary short subject were for “End Game” and “Period. End of Sentence.”

Netflix has failed to break into the Oscar race in a big way in past years. It won the award for best documentary feature last year for “Icarus,” but this year marks the first time it has been recognised for best picture and other major awards. Netflix’s first original feature film, “Beasts of No Nation,” failed to land any Oscar nominations even though Idris Elba was projected to earn one for best supporting actor.

Ballad of buster scruggsNetflix‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.’

And despite the acclaim “Roma” has received, Netflix’s push to dominate this awards season has drawn criticism.

Netflix has faced obstacles in the festival circuit. It pulled out of the Cannes Film Festival last year after the fest introduced a rule change in which any film without a theatrical distribution in France would be disqualified. (Netflix premiered six Oscar hopefuls at the Venice Film Festival in August though, including “Roma.”)

Even Steven Spielberg has criticised Netflix, saying in March that “once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”

Read more: The whirlwind success of Netflix’s ‘You’ and ‘Bird Box’ shows it’s become a well-oiled FOMO machine

To distance itself from that critique, Netflix gave “Scruggs” and “Roma” (as well as “Bird Box”) exclusive theatrical runs before they were available to stream. It was an unprecedented move for the company, which usually releases content “day and date,” meaning in theatres the same day as on streaming.

But some art-house theatres, including Alamo Drafthouse, told Business Insider they passed on showing “Roma” because of Netflix’s demands. The streamer wanted Alamo to show the movie for four weeks in 70 mm for all screenings, which Alamo declined to do.

Netflix is spending as much as $US20 million on the “Roma” Oscar campaign, though, according to The New York Times, which could have helped it overcome the backlash. Now, Netflix is heading into the Oscars on February 24 as a favourite in the race.

Here are all of Netflix’s Oscar nominations this year:

Picture – “Roma”

Director – Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Lead actress – Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”

Supporting actress – Marina de Tavira, “Roma”

Original screenplay – “Roma”

Adapted screenplay – “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Foreign language film – “Roma”

Cinematography – “Roma”

Production design – “Roma”

Costume design – “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Sound editing – “Roma”

Sound mixing – “Roma”

Original song – “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Documentary short subject – “Period. End of Sentence”

Documentary short subject – “End Game”

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