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TECH HOLLYWOOD

Amazon’s MGM purchase made it one of the biggest Oscar contenders overnight

Rami Malek preparing for a scene in "No Time To Die"
MGM
Rami Malek preparing for a scene in MGM’s “No Time To Die”
  • Adario Strange
By Adario Strange

Media & entertainment reporter based in New York

Published Last updated

The competitive streaming landscape has been transformed in just the last few weeks, and those changes will be on display at the Academy Awards on March 27.

Amazon’s acquisition of MGM and its Amazon Prime Video arm has vaulted the company into close competition with the likes of Netflix (27 Oscar nominations) and Apple Original Films/Apple TV+ (six nominations). Amazon Studios currently has four Oscar nominations, but when you include the MGM films now in its stable, Amazon lays claim to seven potential Oscar wins. 

The film with the most nominations is a Netflix release called The Power of the Dog, with 12 nominations, the clearest sign that the Oscar race has permanently changed to include original content from tech-first streaming services. 

The wall separating streaming studios and traditional studios has crumbled

What distinguishes Netflix, Apple, and Amazon from their Hollywood studio competition is the fact that they are all companies that are primarily streaming or technology-based. 

As traditional movie studios like Disney (Disney+, Hulu), with 24 nominations, and Warner Bros. (HBO Max), with 16 nominations, have moved into the streaming business—now transformed by simultaneous theatrical and home video distribution or hybrid releases—the lines have been blurred in terms of what is an isn’t a “Hollywood studio.” 

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Releasing a film streaming first, or as a hybrid, no longer seems to impact its Oscar nomination chances, as it might have in the past. Some of the streaming-first and hybrid releases included in this year’s awards include Coda (Apple Original Films/Apple TV+), King Richard (Warner Bros./HBO Max), Dune (Warner Bros./HBO Max), and Luca (Disney/Disney+). 

Amazon’s e-commerce roots are being replaced by a new Hollywood profile

Although the newly Oscar-nominated MGM films now in Amazon’s library (Licorice Pizza, House of Gucci, and No Time to Die) weren’t distributed as streaming-only or hybrid releases, they nevertheless contribute to the tech company’s new status as a top-tier player in the Hollywood race for talent and profit. 

Even though viewership ratings for the Oscars has continuously slipped (down 56% from 2020 to 2021) in recent years, history has shown that an Oscar nomination or win can boost a film’s total revenue by up to 50% following the award. Beyond the prestige, Amazon’s well-timed studio purchase could increase its filmed entertainment bottom line.  

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