Netflix Is Intent on Oscar Redemption in 2021 

Netflix Is Intent on Oscar Redemption 2021 
Cheyne Gateley/VIP

Netflix may have only won two of the 24 Oscar awards its films were nominated for earlier this year, but that won’t discourage the company from pushing for prestigious film awards again.  

Its latest project hoping to be in the awards mix is “The Life Ahead,” foreign-language drama featuring Sophia Loren, which debuted today and has already drawn praise for its star’s performance. 

While “Life Ahead” currently appears to be sitting well with many critics given its 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, being a foreign-language film could prevent it from being one of Netflix’s more buzzy prestige films of the season among casual viewers. 

Regardless, Netflix has plenty of other chances to win over viewers and, more important, critics before 2021 nominations voting begins in March. 

Perhaps most notably in the yet-to-be-released prestige-film arsenal of Netflix is “Mank,” which hits the streaming service on December 4. The film, starring Gary Oldman and centering around the making of “Citizen Kane,” seems firmly set to be one of Netflix’s front-running Best Picture Oscar hopefulsVariety film awards editor Clayton Davis yesterday predicted it has a high chance of securing a Best Picture nomination. 

Other notable upcoming Netflix films in the Best Picture Oscar nomination conversation are “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Prom,” which Davis currently predicts are two of Netflix’s strongest bets for Best Picture nominations.  

Meanwhile, Davis also sees “Pieces of a Woman,” a festival film debuting online on Jan. 7, as having Best Picture Oscar potential, albeit not quite as much as those previously mentioned. 

There is overlap between Netflix films expected to be in the running for Best Picture and Netflix films expected to nab nominations in other big categories like Best Director, Actor and Actress (i.e., David Fincher for “Mank, Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Vanessa Kirby for “Pieces of a Woman”). 

The streamer also has animated features that could end up nabbing Oscar nods. Many of those, such as “The Willoughbys” and “Over the Moon” have debuted already, but keep an eye out for “Bombay Rose,” due out sometime in Q4 of this year. Davis predicts that film has a strong chance for being nominated for Best Animated Feature. 

On the documentary front, Netflix has dropped titles such as “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” and “Dick Johnson Is Dead,” which Clayton has previously predicted could garner attention from the Academy. Yet to come from Netflix in this realm is the Sundance award winner “Giving Voice, though a release date was unclear when the streamer picked up the doc. 

Absent from Netflix’s latest Oscar-hopeful roster may be a mega-budgeted epic such as 2019’s “Irishman,” but given that the $175 million film failed to win any of the 10 Oscars for which it was nominated, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.