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Netflix Gets 18 Oscar Nominations, but Viewers Prefer ‘The Postcard Killings’ to ‘Maestro’

Netflix scored 18 Oscar nominations for its 2023 films, with eight for feature films — the most of any distributor. All told, Netflix had nine nominations in top categories incuding Best Picture, International Film, Animated Feature, acting, and writing categories.

Not that Netflix’s domestic viewers seemed to notice. Since the Oscar nomination announcement January 23, not one nominated film reentered its top 10 most watched film list. Since then, two obscure titles have held the top spot: “The Hill,” a faith-based sports biopic that grossed under $8 million when it was released last summer, and “The Postcard Killings,” a 2020 home video-released European murder mystery directed by Oscar-winning director Denis Tanovic (“No Man’s Land”).

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Nominees fared somewhat better in VOD viewing. Led by “Oppenheimer” (Universal), all five Best Picture nominees that are available to view and without a streaming alternative placed on at least one top 10 list.

In a week with multiple late-year releases making their home debut, DC Comics’ underwhelming “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” took the top spot at Apple TV and Google Play (both of which rank by transactions) and Vudu (which calculates by revenue, favoring higher-priced PVOD releases, usuallly $19.99).

Perhaps the Netflix originals already had their shot, but that denies two realities. First, unlike return runs in theaters (this weekend saw a variety of nominees gross about $13 million, including some already on VOD), subscribers need only click their remote and see these films for no extra charge. The second, more uncomfortable truth is while many of these films received generous press attention the audiences didn’t follow suit.

NIMONA - A Knight (Riz Ahmed) is framed for a crime he didn't commit and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he's sworn to kill. Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, this is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone. Cr: Netflix © 2022
“Nimona”NETFLIX

The two most successful Netflix nominees were animated feature “Nimona” (21 days in the top 10, reached #3) and the Spanish International Feature nominee “Society of the Snow” (13 days, highest #1).

Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” its top contender, made the chart for for four days, with #4 its first-day best. “Nyad” with two acting nods also made it for only four days, also #4 highest. “May December” (screenplay) started at #6, then fell off after three days. Best Actor-nominated “Rustin” had two days at #9. Neither “American Symphony” (a surprise Documentary Feature snub) or “El Conde” (cinematography nominee) ever placed.

Last year, “All Quiet on the Western Front” with its surprisingly strong nominations (and eventual International Film win) got as high as #2 initially over 13 days, then returned after nominations for nine more days, highest #5.

For Netflix, the nominees thar get the most attention have greater general audience appeal. “Nimona” appeals to family viewers, “Society” likely had appeal for its plane crash/real-life cannibalism story, while “Quiet” got the audience that responds to a swath of war-related films.

We don’t know how much Netflix paid to license “The Postcard Killings” or “The Hill,” but it is likely a small fraction of the budgets for their awards-aimed titles. “Society” was reportedly $65 million. “Maestro” is uncertain, but getting Bradley Cooper after “A Star Is Born” wouldn’t come cheaply (one unconfirmed estimate placed it at $80 million). “May December” was a more thrifty $20 million. That all comes before their expensive awards campaigns.

Their value is more than views. Delivering nominations equals incentive for talent to work with Netflix and publicity for the streamer.

The strong “Aquaman” sequel showing is good news for Warners after its tepid domestic theatrical performance ($118 million). It is at $412 million worldwide, versus its $205 million before-marketing cost. It was released just a month after it opened with the hope that the lucrative revenue from PVOD can help salvage the release.

ANATOMY OF A FALL, (aka ANATOMIE D'UNE CHUTE), Sandra Huller, 2023. © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection
“Anatomy of a Fall” Courtesy Everett Collection

No Oscar nominee made all three charts and all now rent for $5.99 or less. “Oppenheimer” (Universal) is second at both Apple TV and Google Play, though a lot of new $19.99 releases failed to chart at Vudu. “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon) also is on two, “The Holdovers” (Focus), “Past Lives” (A24), and “Barbie” one each.

It was a curious week for new releases. “Migration,” released after five weekends rather than Universal’s usual three, did best, with Vudu at #2 its highest position. “Wish,” a more delayed release consistent with Disney’s current pattern, is #3 at Vudu, lower elsewhere. “Ferrari” (Neon) is on two, while “Night Swim” (Universal) only Vudu.

“Trolls Band Together” (Universal) and “Napoleon” joined “Aquaman,” “Migrantion,” and “Wish” on all charts.

Apple TV and Google Play rank films daily by number of transactions. These are the listings for Monday, January 29. Distributors listed are current rights owners. Prices for all titles are for lowest for either rental or download.

Apple TV (formerly iTunes)

1. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) – $19.99

2. Oppenheimer (Universal) – $5.99

3. Napoleon (Sony) – $19.99

4. Migration (Universal) – $19.99

5. Anatomy of a Fall (Neon) – $6.99

6. The Holdovers (Focus) – $5.99

7. Wish (Disney) – $19.99

8. Ferrari (Neon) – $19.99

9. Trolls Band Together (Universal) – $19.99

10. Past Lives (A24) – $4.99

Google Play

1. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) – $19.99

2. Oppenheimer (Universal) – $5.99

3. Trolls Band Together (Universal) – $19.99

4. Migration (Universal) – $19.99

5. Napoleon (Sony) – $19.99

6. Barbie (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

7. The Marvels (Disney) – $19.99

8. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Lionsgate) – $19.99

9. Wish (Disney) – $19.99

10. Anatomy of a Fall (Neon) – $6.99

Vudu

Vudu ranks by revenue, not transactions, elevating premium VOD titles. This list covers January 22-28.

1. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) – $19.99

2. Migration (Universal) – $19.99

3. Wish (Disney) – $19.99

4. The Marvels (Disney) – $19.99

5. Night Swim (Universal) – $19.99

6. Trolls Band Together (Universal) – $19.99

7. Ferrari (Neon) – $19.99

8. Napoleon (Sony) – $19.99

9. Silent Night (Lionsgate) – $19.99

10.. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (Lionsgate) – $19.99

Netflix Movies

Most viewed, current ranking on Netflix’s domestic daily chart on Monday, January 29. Originals include both Netflix-produced and acquired titles it initially presents in the U.S. Netflix publishes its own worldwide weekly top 10 on Tuesdays based on time viewed.

1. The Postcard Killings (2020 VOD release)

2. The Hill (2023 theatrical release)

3. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023 theatrical release)

4. Badland Killers (2024 Netflix South Korean original)

5. Lift (Netflix original)

6. The Legend of Tarzan (2016 theatrical release)

7. Queenpins (2021 Paramount+ streaming release)

8. Dumb Money (2023 theatrical release)

9. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991 theatrical release)

10. Brawl in Cell Block 17 (2017 theatrical release)

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