Amazon (s: AMZN) has had a week of historic triumphs. Just when the world was taking a breath after the Golden Globes, the company announced plans calling for Oscar-winning film maker Woody Allen would create a TV series — his first ever.
Now, Amazon can compete more directly with Netflix, which has unleashed House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, two very well received series of its own, to the world. It’s a savvy business move.
Allen is Mr. High Culture. Mr. High Art. And now he is joining the revolution of how Hollywood invents and distributes content to audiences. This could be the first of many such creative-commercial alliances.
Don’t you suspect that such peers of Allen as Martin Scorsese and David O. Russell and David Fincher are scrutinizing Allen’s deal to see if they, too, might have a future in his business?
They gave out dozens of awards at the Golden Globes ceremony Sunday night in Beverly Hills. In a night that celebrated excellence in film and television, perhaps the most noteworthy moment came when Amazon’s TV series “Transparent” won for Best TV Comedy or Musical.
Forget, for a moment, about all of the cultural, sociological and political ramifications of this recognition for the transgender community around the world. Sure, Hollywood likes to go good — but it loves to do well. Make money, that is.
And that may well be the true story, or at least the most transforming one, of the Golden Globes or any other glitzy awards programs. Talent comes and goes. But the money people who finance motion pictures and television shows can be forever. That Amazon has joined Netflix, which made the acclaimed TV series “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” possible, as a content-generator shows how much the entertainment landscape is changing forever.
“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway accepted the best comedy award. She thanked Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as well as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which bestows the awards every year.
Further, sit-com veteran Jeffrey Tambor received the award for best actor in a TV comedy. He made sure to note in his acceptance speech that Amazon was his “new best friend.” Tambor might as well have been speaking for all of Hollywood.
In “Transparent,” Tambor plays a transgender woman — a father who comes out as a woman, named Maura, to his family. For that reason, the series has been lauded as being historic.
It is easy to overlook the meaning of Amazon’s success. Who wants to focus on a huge company that, like all of them, cares largely about generating profits and pleasing Wall Street quarter after quarter?
The fun part of a show like the Golden Globes is to think, instead, about the rising stars who were recognized. Plus, there were the comeback kids, like Michael Keaton, who starred in the movie “Birdman,” Theone of the most highly praised movies of 2014. These were the easy, obvious hooks in an otherwise interminable, self-congratulatory annual awards show.
There were also lots of terrific speeches during the evening. George Clooney was predictably humble and self-effacing (and topical) when he accepted the Cecille B. DeMille Award for his impressive entertainment-industry work and numerous humanitarian efforts.
But the bottomline here is that the traditional studios are no longer the only entities making important movies and TV programs. Yes, this is hardly news, thanks to Netflix. But it is intriguing that the trend is clearly in full flower.
Amazon has made us all understand that.