Does Netflix Finally Have the ‘Power’ for the Best Picture Oscar?

With 12 nominations for Jane Campion's western, could the streamer finally win the Academy Awards' top prize?

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After years of trying, does Netflix finally have the suitable film, at the right time, to win the coveted top category at the Academy Awards — and become the first streamer to do so?

Based on the showing for “The Power of the Dog” at the Feb. 8 nominations announcement — it leads the field with 12 — it sure looks like it might.

Read more: Variety’s Awards Circuit Predictions Hub

Netflix received its first feature film Oscar nominations for “Mudbound,” a groundbreaking 2017 release recognized in four categories, including Rachel Morrison for cinematography. But the film did not score a best picture nom.

The streaming giant nearly triumphed with the Spanish-language film “Roma” (2018) from Alfonso Cuarón, snaring 10 noms, including best picture. It won three trophies, and Cuarón became the first winner of best director for a non-English-language movie. But the black-and-white semi-autobiographical film lost best picture to the critically divisive “Green Book.”

Assessing a road in which Campion’s film can lead its way to the best picture win, the phase two piece of the awards season would likely include Netflix highlighting all the achievements and records broken that would be made when rewarding its film.

“Power of the Dog” director Jane Campion has already won an original screenplay Oscar (“The Piano,” 1993) and has become the first woman nominated twice for directing. If she wins, she will be the third woman to do so, following Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” (2009) and Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” (2020). If she wins adapted screenplay, she’ll be the first woman to win both screenplay categories, something only legends like Francis Ford Coppola and Billy Wilder have done.

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Ari Wegner is the second woman to be nominated for cinematography and is a viable challenger to Greig Fraser’s work on “Dune,” which pulled in an impressive nomination haul. Along with Campion’s historic win, Wegner would be an added benefit to a year rewarding women in cinema.

Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be the most viable challenger to front-runner Will Smith of “King Richard” since he leads in precursor awards in acting. Meanwhile, Kodi Smit-McPhee, who has the most wins, may have some votes siphoned by his co-star Jesse Plemons, which could pave the way for someone like Ciarán Hinds to break through.

Kirsten Dunst, achieving her first nom after a long career, could challenge Ariana DeBose for “West Side Story,” primarily due to the latter film having a softer showing than many anticipated, with snubs in the adapted screenplay and editing categories.

After two years of double-digit nominations but few trophies — Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” went zero for 10 and David Fincher’s “Mank” was two for 10 — Netflix is poised for one of the largest hauls in recent years, ending the night with a possible five to nine winning envelopes. That is, of course, if Netflix can stay the course for the next seven weeks.

The best thing that might have happened for the streamer was (unfortunately) Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” coming up short in the best picture race. The headlines for the day were “‘The Power of the Dog” leads with 12 noms,” and not “Netflix is the first studio to get three best picture nominations in over 50 years.” The awards voter roots for the movie, not the studio. This helps the campaign immensely.

Only five more weeks until final voting opens on Mar. 15.

All Oscar prediction categories have been updated. Check them out via the links below.

2022 Academy Awards Predictions