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 nominations, far more than any other studio.
The company’s wins at the 93rd Academy Awards included two Oscars for David Fincher’s “Mank,” the most-nominated film this year with 10 nods, 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: for 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). Chadwick Boseman was widely considered the favorite to win a posthumous best actor Oscar for his turn in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” but Anthony Hopkins landed the award for “The Father.” Viola Davis was in the running for best actress, which went to Frances McDormand for “Nomadland.”
Netflix’s seven Oscars are the most wins for a single studio since 2017, when Lionsgate nabbed eight (including six for “La La Land”).
After Netflix, Disney overall had the most wins at this year’s Oscars with five: Its Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland” picked up three wins (best picture, director for Chloé Zhao and actress for McDormand) and Disney-Pixar got two, for “Soul” (best animated feature film and score), representing the first-ever Academy Awards for Disney Plus.
Warner Bros. had three Oscars wins: two for “Judas and the Black Messiah” (supporting actor for Daniel Kaluuya and song for H.E.R.’s “Fight For You”) and one for “Tenet” (visual effects).
Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal” garnered two Oscar wins — for film editing and sound — after Amazon had nabbed 12 total nominations. Sony Pictures Classics also won a pair of Oscars for “The Father” (Hopkins for actor and adapted screenplay).
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 came away empty-handed.
Netflix, in addition to the awards for “Mank” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” 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). That included two contenders for best picture: “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” the latter of which had six nominations but was shut out from any wins.
In 2020, Netflix had won just two Academy Awards after 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 one for 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 cementing Netflix’s credibility among top-tier Hollywood talent as a major film studio.
Pictured above (l. to r.:): Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Viola Davis, Michael Potts, Glynn Turman in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”