Icarus - the 2018 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary (Feature) - is the first Oscar winning feature length film to be distributed by Netflix. This is a major accomplishment for the company, which was originally founded in 1997 as a video on-demand service and DVD by mail rental company.
Produced and directed by Bryan Fogel, Icarus focuses upon Fogel's investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs among bicyclists. His early work brings him into contact with the renegade Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who was once a part of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. Realizing the problem is much bigger than he imagined, Fogel works with Rodchenkov to expose just how far Russia went in breaking the law - both in enhancing their Olympic athletes and in covering up the fact that they did so.
Related: 2018 Oscars Winners List
Icarus' win, which is chronicled on the official Oscars website along with the rest of this year's winners, is a major accomplishment for Netflix, who only recently got into the business of producing and distributing original programming. Their first effort in this regard was the critically acclaimed drama House of Cards. Since that time, Netflix has become a major distributor, and is now poised to release its 700th original production this year.
The Oscar win is only the latest in a string of great accomplishments for Netflix. Earlier in the week, the value of Netflix's stock hit an all-time high, with the company now estimated to be worth $130 billion. A recent survey of American consumers also suggested that just as many people are subscribing to Netflix now as traditional cable television services. This news followed close on the heels of Netflix investing $1 billion of its company holdings in the development of more original films and television series.
The only downside to Netflix's current development seems to be a loss in focus of what made the company's streaming service so popular in the first place. Their streaming service is picking up more and more television series, but has seen its digital library of on-demand movies shrink over the past year. This loss of resources may not be hurting the company now, but it remains to be seen how well they will be able to compete when Disney and Warner Bros. launch their own rival on-line distribution services over the next two years. Regardless of what the future may hold, today is a good day for Netflix and its stockholders.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Icarus as being Netflix's first Oscar win. While it does mark the first time that the company has won an Oscar for a feature-length film, it previously picked up an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for The White Helmets in 2017.
Source: The Academy Awards