How Streaming Networks Are Dominating Award Shows!

Your favorite streaming networks aren’t just dominating television, but film and award shows as well; here’s how! 

Netflix made waves on Super Bowl Sunday with not just airing a commercial for one film, but running a commercial promoting their 52 original movies that will premiere each week on the service. Netflix is determined to make a splash in the awards season even if The Power of The Dog or Don’t Look Up are unable to crack Best Picture this year; and they aren’t the only ones making moves to build up their platforms. 

Here’s how streaming networks are making moves to continue to dominate the award circuit!

Netflix’s Movie A Week 

The 52 Movies A Year promotion emphasized films of every genre; action blockbusters like The Gray Man or Extraction 2. Sci-fi films such as The Adam Project, and sequels like Enola Holmes 2. Netflix is preparing to have a new buzzy film with a major star out every week. This builds up their brand image in consumer’s minds as more than just a streaming platform but as a major film distributor, a continuation of their efforts over the past few years. Netflix has come close to a major Oscar award and they continue to build prestige in advance of their announced award slate, pending any new acquisitions at fall film festivals. 

Top of mind for their awards slate next year are The Good Nurse starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne, David Fincher’s The Killer and the crown jewel that Netflix spent over $100M to acquire the rights to, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2. These films feature A-list, Oscar nominated casts and prestige directors in Netflix’s quest for the gold.  

HBO Max’s Mergers 

Last year, Warner Media released all of WB’s films through HBO Max; when a movie was released in theaters, it was also launched on the service for 31 days, then pulled and returned later in the year. The backlash and issues with that plan as well as the benefits have been well documented. This plan made the films eligible for Oscars as they had a theatrical run and were intended for the big screen. However, now HBO Max is producing originals for the service, which won’t qualify. This has led to the game of partnerships and acquisitions. In 2022, 5 of the Oscar nominated films will stream on the service by the Oscar awards ceremony on March 27 (Dune, King Richard, West Side Story, Drive My Car, Nightmare Alley). To accomplish this,  HBO Max has used deals with film production and distribution companies including an existing deal with Fox before the Disney acquisition. HBO Max’s future, is being the destination for viewers to find award winning context. 

Hulu & Searchlight

Hulu is another streaming service that has benefited from distribution deals. As part of the Disney umbrella, Hulu relies heavily on the deals Disney has with Searchlight, a film distribution brand under 20th Century Studios and other companies. This allowed them to premiere last year’s Best Picture winner Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland before it’s big win. Now, Searchlight is releasing films right to the streaming service including Mimi Cave’s Fresh. While not an Oscar contender, this film stars Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar Jones, two A list actors, and releases March 4. They’ve also acquired Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck Leo Grande, starring Emma Thompson which will garner buzz for her and the screenplay. Neon also has a streaming deal for films to Hulu as the streaming network builds to be a destination for viewers of awards contenders. Contenders such as Julia Ducournau’s Titane and Pablo Larrain’s Spencer this season.

Apple’s Festival Game & A24

Apple is also entering the awards game in a big way. This year, they have a best picture nominee CODA, for which they paid $25M for during the Sundance Film Festival in 2021. This year at Sundance, they also paid the highest price of the festival for Cha Cha Real Smooth, a warm heartfelt crowd pleasing come of age film. They acquired it for $15M. These are among the highest purchases in the festival’s history. They also have a deal with A24 where Apple and Apple+ distribute and stream several of their films during the year including The Tragedy of Macbeth. In past years they’ve also debuted On the Rocks and Boys State, both A24 productions. If Apple is able to continue major acquisitions this will showcase their intent in competing as a major player in film distribution and allow them to maintain crucial connections with important indie distributors. 

Keep checking our favorite services for all their latest movies ! Who knows, maybe you’ll stumble upon an Oscar winning film. 

About the Author

Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is a senior Business of Creative Enterprises major at Emerson College based in Boston,MA. He loves all forms of entertainment whether film, television or on the stage. He is currently studying at Emerson's Los Angeles campus.