Streaming giant Netflix Inc. (NFLX.O) stepped into Hollywood’s brightest spotlight for the first time Tuesday as its film “Roma” received an Academy Award nomination for best picture.
Alfonso Cuaron’s semiautobiographical look at the life of a Mexico City maid and the family she serves received 10 nominations overall, tied with “The Favourite” for the most nods this year. Cuaron was nominated for direction and cinematography, while Yalitza Aparicio was recognized for her lead performance and Marina de Tavira, who plays the family matriarch, got a supporting-actress nomination.
The Academy plaudits for “Roma” are a measure of vindication for Netflix as it fights to get Hollywood to accept its streaming-focused release strategy. The company gave “Roma” a limited theatrical release before streaming it, but it prefers a simultaneous cinema and video debut, much to exhibitors’ ire. Large theater chains such as AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. refused to show the movie.
Recognition by the Academy will also help Netflix as it seeks to grow an exclusive stable of filmmakers, producers and actors to rival Hollywood studios that have begun to pull their content from the digital distributor’s platform, as they plan their own online services.
Netflix rival Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) had a best-picture nominee with 2016's “Manchester by the Sea” but did not win. Unlike Netflix, it has courted Hollywood by respecting exhibitors’ traditional release windows. This year, the retailer’s “Cold War” scored nominations for direction, cinematography and foreign-language film, squaring off with “Roma” in all three.
The nominations for the 91st Oscars, to be awarded Feb. 24, also brought a milestone for Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios, whose “Black Panther” is the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture. The movie received seven nods altogether.