Therein lies the challenge for the producers of this year’s awards, after a stretch that has already seen the Emmys and Golden Globes sink to record-low ratings. It has left producers of the ceremony in what looks like a difficult bind — with no theatrical blockbusters to help drive interest in the ceremony — but also with an opportunity, if they embrace the freedom that should come with diminished viewership expectations and having little to lose.
All told, the service amassed a best-ever 35 nominations, more than any other single entity. That included two of the eight best picture nominees, a pair of historical dramas in “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and six of the 20 acting bids.
Netflix, of course, wasn’t alone, with streamers like Amazon (with a dozen total), Hulu and Disney+ all leaving their mark on the roster of contenders. In some instances, that recognition came for movies that were redirected from planned theatrical release to streaming, such as Hulu’s “Nomadland” and Disney+’s “Soul” and “Mulan.”
Award shows, of course, exist for multiple reasons, which in their highest calling involves celebrating and encouraging admirable work. But they are also commercial endeavors, with practical implications built around getting people to watch, and broadcast fees that support the organizations behind them.
In a year where the Oscars have become mostly about streaming, there’s not much left to do but go with the flow.