Netflix continues to make it known they want to be a player for the Oscars. Over the past few years, they had some success, and some near misses that could have broken through. The film that still feels ahead of its time was “Beasts of No Nation,” which won a SAG supporting actor prize for Idris Elba and showed up in the ensemble race. Not long after, Netflix broke through with “Mudbound” with 4 Oscar nominations. Many have wondered what would be the streaming services first true player, but that’s now a known commodity. “Roma” from Alfonso Cuarón will not only be a player but a potential winner for Best Picture.
What makes today’s news so exciting, is that many critics of the Netflix model will no longer be able to complain. According to Deadline, “Roma” will now be put in at least 100 theaters the week of its release. This will give audiences the ability to experience the film on a big screen if they choose to, while also giving international audiences the chance to see it instantly. Netflix appears to be targetting theaters with the Dolby Atmos technology, delivering the film in as pure of a setting as possible. With Cuarón saying this is the way the film is meant to be experienced, this makes perfect sense.
At the same time, this also gives Netflix support to show to potential auteurs circling the company. In the past, many of the films that turned down offers from Netflix pointed to having the ability to play in theaters. With “Roma” and “22 July” both hitting theaters this fall, Netflix has shown a willingness to negotiate with some auteurs. While this does not mean every Netflix film will see theatrical distribution, it’s a step forward to critics.