In case some Academy members haven’t noticed, mainstream theatrical fare has severely devolved over the past 15 years. Almost everything made by the big studios is aimed at families and submentals, and almost all adult material (except during Oscar season) has been shunted off to cable and streaming. So out of this desert comes (among other streaming companies) Netflix, which believes in backing ambitious, adult-level features…hooray!
Netflix has recently even caved on its standard financial scheme of streaming films right off the bat from day #1, to the extent that it won’t be streaming its prize Oscar pony, Alfonso Cuaron‘s Roma, until it’s played in select theatres for a couple of weeks. I’m sorry but that’s a highly significant concession for a company like this.
And some people are giving Netflix shit over this? Somebody actually accused their willingness to go theatrical of being a “con” because they’ll be four-walling?
Netflix is investing in real movies, for God’s sake. They’ve produced the latest Coen brothers film, which at the very least is diverting and handsome as hell to look at. They backed that problematic Orson Welles film, The Other Side of the Wind, and Morgan Neville‘s They”ll Love Me When I’m Dead. They may not be the most theatrical-minded people in the industry, okay, but we’re living in a streaming world now, for God’s sake…wake up! There’s a distinct shortage of good-guy outfits in the business right now, and Netflix is certainly one of them
I was inspired to post this by two recent irritating articles — Erich Schwartzel‘s 11.17 Wall Street Journal piece, “Netflix Sees Oscar Gold in Roma, but Hollywood Isn’t So Sure,” and Rebecca Keegan‘s 11.14 Hollywood Reporter essay, “How the Oscar Race Became a Referendum on Netflix.”