The victory of ‘Coda’ shows the trends in production and distribution in theaters and platforms. Adult cinema faces a key moment— Apple beats Netflix at the Oscars and in the platform war. This edition of the Oscars has been more important than it seems, although everything has been overshadowed by Will Smith’s testosterone attack on Chris Rock. Coda’s victory against The Power of the Dog has been read in the key of ‘popular film’ versus ‘auteur cinema’, and although it is also true, that duel hides many edges that speak of the future of cinema. That victory was Apple’s against Netflix. Or seen another way, the umpteenth defeat of Netflix. But there was another loser, the movie theaters. For them were the technical awards thanks to Dune, a blockbuster that worked at the box office and is reaffirmed thanks to these awards. However, there was no trace of the average cinema that years ago took everything and that also swept the box office. This situation makes many wonder, where is the future of adult cinema going? What have these Oscars meant for theaters and platforms?
The Oscars don’t want Netflix .The defeat of Netflix can only be seen as the umpteenth sit-in of the Academy. It is the only explanation for a film like The Power of the Dog, with 12 nominations, critical success, a renowned director and a brutal promotion campaign, losing to the film that fewer people had seen of all the nominees (according to Deadline ). Coda had only three candidates and was not a candidate in directing and editing, two key categories. For Elena Neira, Graduate in Law and Audiovisual Communication, specialized in new audiovisual distribution models and author of the book Streaming Wars: the new television (Cúpula), the message is clear: “In Hollywood they are prepared for hybrid premieres, but not for premieres simultaneous. This award sends a message, which is that we must recognize that the platforms are a reality, but of all of them, Apple has been the least disruptive and they do not consider it a great threat. It does not have a commitment to cinema as ambitious as Netflix, which has gradually been destroying the traditional consumption model. This award is an acceptance of change, but of a less disruptive change”.
The move has not been free for Apple, rumors say that Coda’s promotional campaign has cost 25 million dollars, but at least they have managed to raise a statuette that their rivals resist. Netflix’s commitment has always been for great established directors and more authorial cinema. Now, a less pretentious film has beaten them. Can this cause a change of production line for the prizes? For Elena Neira it is not so easy, because Coda is not even an Apple original, but was bought from Lionsgate in the middle of the pandemic. “In hindsight I would say that they paid too much for it (more than 20 million euros). It was not a Slumdog Millionaire that was bought for two dollars. My feeling is that they all want to play auteur cinema, and Apple supposedly wants to be a platform for sophisticated content and even pick up the baton from HBO, so there are no assigned roles yet.