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Amazon's Best Picture Oscar Nod Makes History For Streaming Media (fortune.com) 38

Hollywood is buzzing after Tuesday morning's long-awaited Oscar nominations announcements, finally revealing who will be competing for an Academy Award on Feb. 26. One of the biggest stories of the morning was the nominations haul scored by e-commerce giant Amazon and its streaming video arm, Amazon Studios. From a report: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Amazon's big Oscar contender, director Kenneth Lonergan's devastating drama Manchester by the Sea, six total nominations on Tuesday. Manchester by the Sea, which Amazon co-distributed with indie studio Roadside Attractions, is nominated for Best Picture, while Lonergan is nominated in both the directing and original screenplay categories. Actors Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges all also scored acting category nods. In total, Amazon has seven nominations, with the Iranian thriller The Salesman -- which Amazon is distributing in the U.S. -- up for Best Foreign Picture. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made no secret about his desire to win an Academy Award -- an accomplishment no streaming service has yet pulled off -- and the company has spent a lot of money building out its portfolio of original feature films as it looks to compete with more traditional Hollywood studios. Last year, Amazon saw its Oscar hopes dashed after the company's collaboration with director Spike Lee on the film Chi-Raq failed to garner any nominations. But Amazon also spent a reported $10 million on the distribution rights to Manchester by the Sea at last year's Sundance Film Festival.
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Amazon's Best Picture Oscar Nod Makes History For Streaming Media

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  • by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:08PM (#53730507)

    This movie is currently only available to see in movie theaters and in fact would not be eligible for the Oscars if it was just a streaming movie.

    • I was wondering about that, I mean good for Amazon but if it's not streaming before winning how does it really make this a first for streaming media?

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        I don't think Amazon even thinks what it's doing that way.

        Amazon's corporate philosophy I think can be summed up this way: Bezos wants Amazon to do everything and win at it. It wants to sell books. It wants to publish books. It wants to stream video and produce the content it is streaming, and provide infrastructure for its competitors like Netflix -- and devices upon which consumers play that content. It's only a matter of time before it becomes a virtual manufacturer of things like cars -- it already se

    • Looking at news sites they are saying that Amazon is the first streaming service to get an oscar nomination.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:35PM (#53730691)
      And on top of that, according to the summary, all Amazon did was purchase distribution rights to the movie. They weren't involved in creating it in any way. They didn't earn an Oscar nomination, they bought one.
      • They didn't earn an Oscar nomination, they bought one.

        Which is what EVERY production company does. They take money they already have or can attract from investors. Other people actually act, do makeup, edit, design sets ... you know, actually make the movie. Amazon is just doing what's been done for many decades - bought movies. Whether they buy it in advance, or buy the investment from someone who put the money up first, it's the same thing. Meanwhile, they are also actually getting more into the weeds of directly creating the entertainment products. Large p

        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )
          At least production companies and producers are actually putting their money in up front. It carries a risk of loss and directly contributes to creating the film by helping to fund the crew, makeup, sets, etc. Amazon bought the rights after it was screened at Sundance, which means the whole movie was already done.
          • Yes. Just like lots of studios risk buying already-made films, gambling that price on their conclusion that it will succeed with audiences and not lose them money. Most large studios do that, even when, like Amazon is, they are also advance-funding many other productions.
    • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @04:48PM (#53730771)

      SAG members got copies over a month ago. I sat through the depressing snoozefest over the holidays as a result.

      Synopsis for those who are considering watching the movie:

      A kid's dad gets sick (heart disease I think) and his trash mom is all like "fuck this I'm out". Later, the dad dies and the kid's uncle has to come and deal with the affairs and take care of the kid. The kid is angry/angsty/etc. because his dad is dead. The uncle can't keep it together because he has a bad history with the town.

      Everything is revealed out of order in flashbacks that will leave you asking "When is this?" and "Who is that?". Eventually it's revealed that the uncle got drunk one night, lit a fire to warm the house, decided to go out for cigarettes or something, and (you guessed it) came back to a well-done house, wife, and child. Despite all the vagueness and time jumping, you can see this coming a mile away once he's starting the fire.

      There's an attempted suicide by the uncle and a bunch of flashbacks with the kid, the dad, and the uncle. Basically the dad forces the uncle to get his life back on track. With the dad dead, the uncle can't fucking deal with the kid and the town, and he can't even handle this lady trying to jump his bones. So he wants to sell the house and move back to wherever he lives and go back to his shitty apartment repair job. The kid wants to stay and finish high school. The uncle's like "No, fuck this town.", but the kid's like "No, fuck you! I'm gonna live with my mom!". The mom and her new husband/boyfriend/whatever show up out of the blue and are all about trying to take the kid in. The uncle knows she's trash and is probably just trying to weasel in on the house is like "No, fuck that!".

      There was some compromise mentioned where the uncle would go back and leave the kid at the dead dad's house until it was sold, or with some family friends (not the mom) most of the year, with the uncle coming to visit occasionally.

      I sat through the whole thing and I honestly can't tell you what the resolution, if any, turned out to be. My guess is the uncle lives in the house with the kid permanently, and finally gives that lady (who was flirting with him from the moment he stepped back into town) the time of day. But it's just a guess. I simply can't remember because it was so incredibly dull, depressing, and boring.

      There was some sort of scene with them bouncing and throwing a ball. It went on for a bit and I think it was just to show that they are moving on with their lives and have dealt with their grief or some shit. I don't know when chronologically this scene takes place (it's toward the end of the movie, but who knows what that means in terms of the storyline), so I can't tell you how significant it is. It was significant enough in the director's eyes for it to go on for too damned long.

      If you get sick of being happy, or there's a day where you look out the window and say "I wish there were less sun and that sky was about 7 pantone steps more grey", give it a watch.

      • There was some sort of scene with them bouncing and throwing a ball.

        Reminds me of the ending to A Wrinkle in Time

      • It is interesting that you are able to describe an entire movie, yet still miss it what it was about.

        I say this not as a criticism, because you sound like a smart person, you were obviously paying close attention, and you write about it very well. It is just very interesting because you clearly had some expectations about what the movie would be about, and those expectations were completely unfilled.

        What you may not have been expecting is to see a movie that is entirely about EMOTION. Not plot. Not dialog. Not even characters, really. The plot, such as it is, is about intertwining emotional journeys, not physical ones. Each of the time jumps follows a clear arc in that journey, almost literally step by step. You have to jump through time -- you have to! -- to understand how each character wound up where they are today, and where they are going. That's because emotional development lags outward events, sometimes by years and years. And sometimes, outward events continue on, but emotional development stops in its tracks.

        This is probably not a young person's movie, and again I say that with no disrespect intended. But I think you have to have some life experience with how discontinuous emotional development and outward events truly are, if you are going to appreciate this movie.

        Let me just one other thing that might help. The intentional use of the long shots, the shots from a distance, vs. the shots close up are used to reflect the inner, emotional state you are supposed to be feeling. If the director wants you to feel detached, the camera sits back to audience-at-a-play distance, and events play out flatly. If he wants you to feel like you're gaining some insight, he uses a long lens with a close up, as if you're listening inside someone's head. It's really quite brilliantly done. And notice that the only time you really feel the full, borderless, bright light is when they are in the boat. The camera then pulls way out so you can take it all in. You're supposed to feel unbounded and free, which explains why the boat is so important in the emotional story. On land, everything is sad and laden. But we can't be sad all the time, there must be some release. The sea is that.

        • It is just very interesting because you clearly had some expectations about what the movie would be about, and those expectations were completely unfilled.

          I had never heard of the movie before arriving for the holidays and being told we were going to watch it and that it stars "Baby Affleck" The SAG member in the family gets stacks and stacks of DVDs every year and chews through them as some sort of duty. If anything, my lack of expectations made the film worse. I didn't expect a mire of depression, I didn't know it was about loss and grief. I didn't expect incessant flashbacks.

          I understand all the emotional shit, I just don't care to watch a movie about

  • And I'm All A-Titter!!! Oooooh!
  • Amazon saw its Oscar hopes dashed after the company's collaboration with director Spike Lee on the film Chi-Raq failed to garner any nominations.

    I guess they didn't get the memo that he hasn't made a decent movie in over 20 years.

  • A washed up old awards ceremony struggling to remain relevant.
    Maybe that's too harsh, but it's never something I watched except when there was nothing else good on tv.
  • "...Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made no secret about his desire to win an Academy Award..."

    And he's throwing cash around to do it. According to FiveThirtyEight, "Loving" and "Manchester by the Sea" are roughly tied in ad-space purchases in the Hollywood Reporter which is over double that of their nearest competitors:

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/fe... [fivethirtyeight.com]

  • If you can't win with artistic talent, win with spending talent, that's the gist I get from the summary...

  • Since when has there been an award category for "deepest pockets"?

    Bezos may want to win an Oscar, but until he actually makes a movie he never will.

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