TECH

Apple left the Oscars empty-handed

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon'

Despite 13 Academy Award nominations, Apple TV+ didn't win one at the Oscars, in a year when nearly every streamer shut down. Here's why this matters.

It was already clear that this year's Oscars won't make a best picture a best picture. But aside from the fact that “Barbie” was largely ignored, there was only one award for any streaming service.

Netflix won an Oscar for “The Marvelous Case of Henry Sugar,” a film in the category live-action shorts was the only streaming win in a year that received a total of 32 nominations across Netflix, Apple TV+ and other platforms.

Apple had 13 nominations: 10 for “Flowers of the Killer Moon” and the rest for “Napoleon.” Of the other streamers, Netflix led the way with 19 nominations, spread across 11 films.

Overall, Netflix has a better track record of winning Oscars than any other streamer. For example, in 2023 it won six awards, and in 2022 its only win was Best Director for Jane Campion.

However, an even more significant award has always been denied to Netflix and all streamers — except Apple. In 2022, CODA made Apple TV+ the first streaming service to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Why you should win an Oscar

Traditionally, winning Best Picture at the Oscars has been incredibly important for a film. Firstly, it is usually re-released in cinemas — Apple only did this with Killers of the Flower Moon because it was nominated.

After this, almost forever, films will sell and stream better when they win Best Picture. Over the years, winning an Oscar can have a significant impact on a film's profitability.

There are no sales as such for the streamer, but the prestigious title brings viewers to the service. Apple can expect more people to watch Napoleon and Flower Moon, for example, because the Oscars mean more people will hear about them.

The Oscars really mean money for filmmakers and streamers. That means enough money for Apple TV+ to spend a lot of money and engage in intense global negotiations to secure as much of the worldwide rights to CODA as possible.

But it gets people to try the service, where the prestige really wins for the streamers. This is so important that Apple is reportedly happy with its major films, even if they fail at the box office.

The cast of “CODA” at the Oscars, tweeted by Tim Cook

Apple's Chances in 2024

No one expects Apple TV+ spy flop Argyle to even be nominated for an Academy Award next year. But whether Apple pins its hopes on the upcoming thriller “Wolves” or the rom-com “The Artemis Project,” it will have a tough time winning an Oscar.

In June 2023, the Academy introduced new rules for presenting the Oscars, in particular the award for best picture. They have to do with how long a film has been in theaters and how widespread that release is in the United States.

Supposedly all this is aimed at helping cinemas, which, of course, is good. But while this doesn't matter for most feature films, for streamers it makes all the difference.

Now they will have to bear the costs of expanded and large-scale theatrical productions. This could mean that the movies will attract fewer people to the streamer because they saw the movie in theaters.

This point is controversial because studios typically view their theatrical productions as mere advertising for digital sales and streaming in the future. But since this rule only applies to streamers, it's not hard to imagine that the Oscars specifically want to reduce the chances of a repeat win.

Apple became the first streamer to win an Oscar. It is quite possible that he will be the only one who will do this.

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