Streaming history has finally been made at the Oscars — just not by Netflix.
The Apple TV+ film CODA won Best Picture at Sunday's Academy Awards, beating Netflix's The Power of the Dog and marking the first time a movie released by a streaming service won the top Oscar. CODA also became the first Best Picture winner featuring a predominantly deaf cast.
It was a stunning defeat for Netflix, as the streamer's The Power of the Dog was once the overwhelming favorite to win Best Picture. It had a whopping 12 nominations, while CODA had just three, and it's highly unusual to win Best Picture with so few nods. In fact, CODA was missing crucial nominations for directing and editing, and at least one of those has always been needed to win Best Picture.
The historic win for Apple is a symbolic moment pointing to streaming's growing dominance in the entertainment industry. But it's also a major blow to Netflix, which has been trying to win Best Picture for years. In 2019, Netflix's Roma was the frontrunner but came up short to Green Book, and pundits speculated voters may have been reluctant to award Hollywood's top honor to a streaming movie.
Clearly, the Academy didn't feel the same way this year, considering an Apple TV+ film won, yet Netflix was still unable to pull off the victory. This time, the loss could have more to do with voters gravitating toward a feel-good crowd-pleaser like CODA over The Power of the Dog, a film detractors have called somewhat cold. In the end, The Power of the Dog only won a single Oscar for Best Director.
It's surely inevitable that Netflix will win Best Picture eventually. But the streamer will no longer get to boast that it was the first one there — and it's all thanks to Apple TV+, a service that, when Netflix lost Best Picture for the first time in 2019, didn't even exist yet.