Will streaming platforms ever gain true recognition from award ceremonies?

Award shows vs streaming platforms
Source: Walt Disney Television/ Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

2020 was a disappointing year for streaming platforms at the Oscars and Golden Globes (GGs). Netflix only picked up two Oscar wins out of 24 nominations, and two GGs out of a staggering 34 nominations.

The streaming era sees OTT companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu always bagging the bulk of nominations but not having too many victories, especially when it comes to films. However, the Emmys are a different story, they’re more open to awarding streaming platforms with their much-deserved accolades. 

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Source: Flickr

Despite many veteran and respected actors like Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Michael Douglass making the move to streaming platforms, OTT platforms still seem to be scorned at. A very vocal critic of streaming platforms is famed Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is also a member of the organization that gives out the awards.

The famed director sternly believes that Netflix movies should only be contenders for the Emmys as he believes they are technically ‘TV Movies’. Spielberg attempted to convince the rest of the academy to shut out Netflix from the Oscars completely.

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Robert DeNiro in The Irishman, source: Netflix

Netflix indirectly responded to Spielberg’s comments by stating that it “loves cinema” and provides filmmakers with “more ways to share art”

 Here are some things we also love: access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, THEATRES… (and) letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time.


Over at the 2020 GGs winner of Best Picture and Best Director for 1917, Sam Mendes also made a snide remark aimed towards streaming platforms:

I hope this means that people will turn up and see this (movie) on the big screen, the way it was intended.

Sam Mendes

However, Mendes did face backlash for his remark. 1917 won Best Picture and Best Director even though it hadn’t been released theatrically at the time of the awards. Audiences weren’t given the opportunity to watch the film and come up with their own opinion of it.

Whereas another top contender, The Irishman, a Netflix production was a favourite to win Best Picture and had been released for quite some time was deemed less worthy than 1917, a film which hadn’t even been released yet. This fact made Mendes’ comment a little unfair and uncalled for. 

The recurring complaints from the academy awards about streaming platforms are the following:

  • Lack of theatrical release
  • Netflix doesn’t release box office returns 
  • Doesn’t respect the 90-day theatrical window
  • Streaming productions are available 24X7 in 190 countries. 

While not all OTT platforms’ original productions are Oscar-worthy groundbreaking material, there are smaller productions that push the parameters of storytelling and representation.

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A still from When They See Us, source: Netflix

When They See Us, the fantastic docu-series about the Central Park Five which was incredibly difficult to watch due to its realness and grittiness, received no nominations. Delhi Crime, a series that told the story of the manhunt following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape in Delhi, didn’t get any recognition either.

These kind stories would not have been produced by any major studio had it not been for Netflix’s backing. Hollywood needs to stop being so resistant to change and understand that streaming is the inevitable future of video content. 

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