Netflix must be popping the champagne.
The streaming leviathan towered over the nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards on Monday. Netflix picked up a leading 36 nominations, beating its own previous record of 24 that it set in 2020 when “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” were among its major contenders.
This year, Netflix scored 10 nominations for David Fincher’s “Mank,” a black-and-white ode to Hollywood that was also the year’s most nominated feature. “Mank” was nominated for best picture, along with acting nods for Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried and a directing nomination for Fincher.
Netflix’s other best picture contender, Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” picked up six nominations. It was also recognized for Sacha Baron Cohen’s supporting performance as activist Abbie Hoffman and for Sorkin’s screenplay.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” failed to score a best picture nomination, but the adaptation of August Wilson’s classic play did nab five nods. Viola Davis was nominated for best actress for playing the blues singer who lends the film its name, while Chadwick Boseman was nominated for a posthumous acting prize. Boseman died in August at the age of 43.
Other Netflix Oscar contenders include “The White Tiger,” the animated feature “Over the Moon,” and “Crip Camp,” a documentary from Higher Ground, the production company founded by former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Higher Ground signed a multi-year deal with Netflix in 2018 to produce scripted and unscripted films and television shows.
Netflix has fared well at the Oscars since earning its first nomination in 2014 for documentary feature for “The Square.” But even though it has won prizes for the likes of “Roma” and “Marriage Story,” it has so far fallen short on nabbing a best picture Oscar.
Netflix wasn’t the only streaming service with something to celebrate on Monday. Amazon Studios also received its highest-ever Oscar nomination tally, with 12 nods. The streaming service pushed “The Sound of Metal” to six nominations, including a best picture nod and one for its star Riz Ahmed. It also scored nominations for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “One Night at Miami.”
At the same time, it was a great day for Disney’s streaming efforts. Hulu scored a nomination for Andra Day’s star turn in “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday” while Disney Plus received its first Oscar nominations since launching in 2019. The service picked up best animated feature nods for “Onward” and “Soul,” the latter of which also received nominations for best score and sound. “Mulan,” another Disney Plus release, received nominations for costumes and visual effects, as did the company’s “The One and Only Ivan.” “Nomadland,” which was produced by the Disney-owned Searchlight, is currently streaming on Hulu.
Apple, which went into the film game just over a year ago, earned its first nominations, picking up a best animated feature nod for “Wolfwalkers” and best sound nod for “Greyhound.”
Many of the films that these streaming services rode to Oscars success originated with traditional studios. Paramount had intended to release “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Universal was originally supposed to debut “Borat 2,” and “Greyhound” was a Sony release. COVID-19 changed those plans, leading studios and filmmakers to seek out alternative distribution strategies and to sell movies to Netflix and its ilk.