Streamers Could Draw Oscar Winners' Fans

Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in Netflix's 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'
Netflix's 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' wins two Academy Awards (Image credit: David Lee/Netflix)

Several streaming services could experience a nice Oscars-related bump in streams and subscribers sign ups -- to go along with an increase in industry prestige -- given the platform's strong performance during last night's Academy Awards ceremony.

The biggest winner during ABC's live Oscars broadcast Sunday was Netflix, who took home an industry leading seven Academy Award statuettes for five different projects, including two for its drama films Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mank. 

While Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star Chadwick Boseman did not posthumously take home the best actor award as he did within the category at the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild awards -- he was upset by 83-year old Anthony Hopkins’ performance in The Father --  the film did win best makeup and hairstyling as well as best costume design. The film, produced by Denzel Washington, stars Academy Award nominated Viola Davis in the role of 1920’s blues singer Ma Rainey and follows the exploits of a 1927 recording session in Chicago. 

Oscars 2021: Photos From the 93rd Academy Awards

Netflix’s Mank, which chronicles the making of the 1941 Citizen Kane film, also took home two statuettes for production design and best cinematography. Netflix’s documentary My Octopus Teacher won for best documentary feature, while short films Two Distant Strangers and If Anything Happens I Love You won for the best live action and best animated short categories respectively. 

Netflix's Oscars showing is good news for the streamer, which last week reported an anemic, pandemic-addled first quarter performance in which it tallied a lower than expected 4 million new subscribers.

Also Read: Netflix adds Just 4 Million New Subscribers in 1st Quarter

Other services like Hulu should benefit from having the streaming rights to this year’s best picture, Nomadland. The movie, which premiered on Hulu in February, also won the best actress award for star Frances McDormand and best director for Chloe Zhao. Zhao becomes the first woman of color to win the award, and only the second woman behind The Hurt Locker’s Kathryn Bigelow.

Amazon Prime is currently the home for two-time Academy Award winning film the Sound of Metal, which won the Oscar for best sound and best film editing. The movie, which follows Oscar-nominated star Riz Ahmed as a rock band drummer who begins to lose his hearing, was also nominated for best picture.

Disney, which finished second to Netflix with five Oscars wins, should generate increased interest for its Disney Plus streaming service through its owned studio Pixar’s animated film Soul. The movie, which stars Jamie Foxx as a black musician whose soul hovers between Earth and the afterlife, won Oscars for best animated film and best score. Disney Plus debuted Soul this past Christmas and it currently streams on the service. 

Also Read: Disney Plus' 'Soul' Ranked No. 1 for Christmas Week Streaming, Nielsen Says

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney stormed this year's Academy Awards with a slate of prestigious, well-reviewed films that had already secured the streaming platform's position among the most successful and prolific producers and distributors of Hollywood films before the first envelope was opened during last night’s ceremony. Now, with a truckload of Oscars and streaming rights to many of last night's biggest winners in tow, streamers are sitting pretty among the major power brokers in the film world.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.