Apple TV+ makes history as first streamer to win Best Picture Oscar

By Dawn Chmielewski

(Reuters – Apple TV+ made history on Sunday as the first streaming service to win the Best Picture Oscar for ‘CODA,’ a heartwarming drama about the daughter of deaf parents who pursues her passion for music .

The streaming service picked up ‘CODA’ for a record $25 million after its 2021 debut at the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s been gaining momentum throughout awards season, taking home the most top honors from the Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild awards.

“CODA” faced intense competition from Netflix’s critically acclaimed western, “The Power of the Dog,” which garnered a dozen nominations. The film’s director, Jane Campion, received an Oscar.

The Best Picture Oscar shows how far the industry has come since 2017, when the Cannes Film Festival banned films that hadn’t been released on the big screen from competing for its highest prize, the Palme d’Or. It was a deliberate snub to streaming services like Netflix.

As the global pandemic forced movie theaters to close in 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changed its Oscar eligibility rules to temporarily change the requirement that a movie screen for seven days in cinemas are eligible. This represented a watershed moment for movies debuting through home streaming services.

The Best Picture Oscar also marks a milestone for Apple TV+, which launched in November 2019 with a handful of original series and no library of movies and TV shows.

Apple TV+ had a breakthrough in September 2021, when its fish out of water comedy, “Ted Lasso,” about an American football coach who accepts a job at an English football club, won the Emmy for a series outstanding comedy.

“If Apple wins the coveted Best Picture award with CODA, it would catalyze more A+ talent coming to Apple first (or in the upper bracket)” and boost subscriptions, wrote Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives, before prices.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Editing by Howard Goller)

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