Netflix had a big night at the Oscars, bringing home a total of seven total trophies — leading all studios — although the streamer failed to grab the prize in the best picture category and came up empty in the acting categories.
Netflix had come into Sunday night with 36 total nominations, far more than any other studio.
The company’s wins at the 93rd Academy Awards included two Oscars for “Mank,” the most-nominated film this year with 10 nods, won two Oscars — for cinematography (for Erik Messerschmidt) and production design (for Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale).
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” adapted from the play by August Wilson, also picked up two Oscars: makeup and hairstyling (with Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson the first Black women to win in the category alongside Sergio Lopez-Rivera) and costume design (Ann Roth).
After Netflix, the next biggest-winning studio at this year’s Oscars was Searchlight Pictures, whose “Nomadland” picked up three wins (best picture, best director for Chloé Zhao and best actress for Frances McDormand).
Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal” garnered two Oscar wins — for film editing and sound — after Amazon had nabbed 12 total nominations. Disney-Pixar also got two, for “Soul” (animated feature and score), as did Warner Bros. for “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Daniel Kaluuya for supporting actor and song for H.E.R.’s “Fight For You”).
Among other streamers at the 2021 Oscars, Apple had two nominations (for “Wolfwalkers” and “Greyhound”) and Hulu had one (for Andra Day in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) but they did not win in their categories.
Netflix also won Oscars for documentary feature “My Octopus Teacher” from Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster; live-action short for “Two Distant Strangers” from Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe, about a man who gets stuck in a time loop and relives a deadly run-in with a cop; and animated short film “If Anything Happens I Love You” from Will McCormack and Michael Govier, which follows parents as they struggle to accept the death of their daughter who was killed in a school shooting.
Overall, Netflix had at least one nominee in 22 of the 23 Oscars categories (with the sole exception of international feature film). “The Trial of the Chicago 7” had six nominations but was shut out. Netflix’s contenders for best picture (“Mank” and “Chicago 7”) were beat out by Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland.”
In 2020, Netflix had won just two Academy Awards on 24 nominations: Laura Dern for supporting actress for “Marriage Story” and “American Factory” for documentary feature. In 2019, the company won four Oscars: three for Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” (foreign language film, cinematography and director) and documentary short for “Period. End of Sentence.”
This year’s Oscars haul for Netflix is a reflection of the global streamer’s concerted effort under film boss Scott Stuber, who joined in 2017, to not only boost the volume of its original film slate but also produce awards-contending prestige pics. Netflix’s Oscar wins could serve to bring in some incremental new subscribers. For Stuber and his team, perhaps the more important result is further establishing Netflix as a major studio in its own right among Hollywood’s top-tier talent.
Pictured above (l. to r.:): Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Viola Davis, Michael Potts, Glynn Turman in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”