Streaming Platform Wins Best Picture For First Time In Oscar History

Cameron Frew

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Streaming Platform Wins Best Picture For First Time In Oscar History

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Alamy/ABC

A streaming platform has taken home Hollywood's biggest prize for the first time in Oscar history - and it's not Netflix.

Netflix has been in the Oscar game since 2014, when The Square nabbed a nomination for Best Documentary. It established its presence in the following years, with nominations for Ava DuVernay's 13th and Mary J. Blige in Mudbound.

Things really took flight in 2019, when Alfonso Cuarón won Best Director for Roma. The film failed to win Best Picture, but many thought this would be Netflix's year – alas, it wasn't meant to be.


CODA, distributed by Apple TV+, won Best Picture over Netflix's The Power of the Dog and Don't Look Up, as well as Belfast, Licorice Pizza, King Richard, Dune, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley and Drive My Car.

The movie is a remake of La Famille Bélier, directed by Sian Heder. Emilia Jones plays Ruby, the titular Child of Deaf Adults (The West Wing's Marlee Matlin and Troy Katsur, the latter of whom also took home Best Supporting Actor tonight).

Ruby wants to be a singer, but the family needs her for their fishing business – mainly to interpret for other hearing workers and authorities.

CODA. Credit: Apple TV+
CODA. Credit: Apple TV+

It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January last year, then setting a new record when Apple bought it for $25 million (£18m).

This year's Oscar season hasn't been a steady race for any nominee. Belfast initially emerged as a favourite, while Dune's performance in the technical categories had some predicting a Fury Road sweep with potential to nab the top prize.

However, over the past month, it's come down to a clash of the streaming titans with CODA and The Power of the Dog, the latter being Jane Campion's revisionist western with Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. (Netflix)
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. (Netflix)

CODA saw big wins from PGA, WGA, and SAG, and its crowd-pleasing appeal and progressive casting (Heder cast deaf actors for deaf characters) seems to have pushed it over the line.

But we should acknowledge the odds it had to overcome – not only behind the scenes, but to win Best Picture at all. First of all, the last film to win the award with fewer than four total nominations was 1932's Grand Hotel. CODA had three nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor; and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Secondly, only one film in the past 25 years has managed to win Best Picture without a corresponding BAFTA nomination for Best Film: Million Dollar Baby. Thirdly, Birdman was the only film in the past 40 years to win without a Best Editing Nomination.

CODA's win may be a sour loss for Netflix, given it was Apple's first try, but it's a victory for the history books.

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Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Apple, Netflix, Oscars, Entertainment

Cameron Frew
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