December 13, 2018

Netflix’s Quest to Win “Best Picture”

“At the Toronto International Film Festival that ended Sunday, a clear front-runner emerged for the next Academy Awards.

The festival — where studios gather every September to debut movies they think can claim the industry’s top prizes — saw the debut of “Roma,” a Spanish-language story about child-care workers in 1970s Mexico. The film has all the elements of a strong contender: great reviews, sumptuous photography, the Oscar-winning director of “Gravity,” nonactors giving ovation-inducing performances and, to top it off, insights into race, class, feminism and U.S.-Mexican relations.

The film has just one big problem: Netflix is distributing it.

The streaming service in recent years has attempted to conquer Hollywood but often ended up antagonizing it instead, especially with its policy of avoiding movie theaters in favor of its own site. Now, as it prepares to steer “Roma” through the Oscar gantlet, the company’s moves may not only determine the next best-picture winner — they’ll reveal whether Netflix can finally move from disruptive outsider to mainstream player.”

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