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Cary Fukunaga Talks The Perception Of Netflix And The Impact On The Oscar Chances Of ‘Beasts Of No Nation’

Cary Fukunaga Talks The Perception Of Netflix And The Impact On The Oscar Chances Of 'Beasts Of No Nation'

While Netflix has emerged as a major Hollywood player, throwing big money behind ambitious TV and movie projects, and becoming an acquisition force at festivals, they have yet to secure an Oscar for an original feature film production. It’s the big prize everyone wants and would further establish their stronghold in the industry. And last year, they went for it with Cary Fukunaga‘s “Beasts Of No Nation,” which had a glitzy Venice Film Festival premiere, received good reviews, and particular attention for Idris Elba‘s lead performance which many thought should’ve earned an Oscar nomination. However, when the Oscars rolled around, not only did Elba miss out, so did the film entirely, with ‘Beasts’ earning no nominations at all.

Speaking with Alec Baldwin on the actor’s “Here’s The Thing” podcast, director Cary Fukunaga shared his thoughts that the Oscar chances for ‘Beasts’ were hurt by being on Netflix. The company, he believes, are still battling the perception that they are simply a streaming service, and that the content that debuts within is not as prestigious as a movie coming from a standard studio and distributor. Here’s an excerpt from the talk between Baldwin and Fukunaga (via Decider): 

Cary Fukunaga: “There’s a couple things going against us, which was not having a major studio with its sort of locked-in Oscar voters.”
Alec Baldwin: “Who released the film?”
CF: “Netflix released the film. Having Netflix as a perceived online-only game player.”
AB: “People thought it was a TV show?”
CF: “Thought it was a TV movie. I know most people would discover it once all the voting was done, and still, a bulk would never see it, ever. I think we thought it was a long shot.”
AB: “Did Netflix learn a lot from that experience, about how they are going to do it differently from now on? I hope so.”
CF: “We have yet to have a real follow up conversation.”
AB: “Would you like to?”
CF: “Yeah. “

It’s certainly an interesting viewpoint from one of the best filmmakers at the moment. Certainly, Netflix does still have to make some strides in Academy circles. Indeed, this year’s Best Picture winner, “Spotlight,” was released by Open Road, who themselves are somewhat new to the awards season game. But armed with a great film, and a smart campaign, they still managed to break into Academy circles and get the votes they needed. And one wonders how ‘Beasts’ might’ve fared if it wasn’t already streaming on Netflix in October, instead of utilizing a traditional rollout plan.

Food for thought. Listen to the full talk with Fukunaga below, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

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