Apple is planning to make six Oscar-worthy films annually for their upcoming streaming service. The 91st Academy Awards, which were held this past February, were something of a landmark occasion in the film industry. Alfonso Cuarón's Roma was one of the most celebrated films at the event, being nominated in 10 categories and winning 3 Oscars (including Best Director). It was a legitimate contender to take home Best Picture as well as it dominated the awards circuit, but ultimately lost the top prize to Green Book.
What made this development noteworthy was the fact Roma was a Netflix release, and its success at the Oscars illustrated voters were willing to embrace streaming movies as much as traditional theatrically released movies. Buoyed by this turn of events, Netflix plans to keep being players at the Oscars, as evidenced by Martin Scorsese's crime drama The Irishman being their top dog in this year's race. There are others paying attention to what's been going on, and now Apple wants to crash the Oscar party as well.
According to the New York Post, Apple is interested in producing six awards-contending films for the Apple+ streaming service, which launches in the fall. The idea is to emulate Focus Features' strategy by making low-to-mid budget movies (in the $5-$30 million range). It is worth noting this initiative is separate from Apple's partnership with A24, the indie powerhouse behind multiple Oscar films like Moonlight and Lady Bird.
It isn't surprising Apple wants to get in the Oscar game. The streaming wars are going to heat up exponentially this year, when established players like Netflix and Amazon are joined by Disney and Apple (among others). In order to attract subscribers, Apple is going into business with popular creatives like Taika Waititi, M. Night Shyamalan, J.J. Abrams, Damien Chazelle, and more. If Apple+ became home to some of the most buzzed-about awards contenders during Oscar season, it would only boost their appeal and encourage more people to sign up. It'll obviously be hard for Apple to compete with the sheer amount of content Disney has at their disposal, but every little bit helps. There's no guarantee any of Apple's original films would gain traction on the awards circuit, though the company's logic here is sound.
For filmmakers, streaming may become a preferable option for making Oscar hopefuls in the future. Spike Lee (whose Best Picture nominee BlacKkKlansman was released by Focus Features) is collaborating with Netflix for his next film, Da 5 Bloods. One of the benefits of streaming is that the project is released straight into consumers' homes, bypassing the usual distribution costs and competition against higher-profile blockbusters. This angers some purists who wish to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers, but times are evolving in a multitude of ways. It'll be interesting to see how Apple's foray into Oscar territory goes.
Source: New York Post