Speed Reads

what went wrong?

Why didn't Roma win Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars?

A scene from Roma.

Green Book might have Netflix to thank for its Best Picture win.

The film scored an upset victory at Sunday's Academy Awards over Roma, which had all of the momentum behind it. Critics widely predicted a win for Roma, which would have been the first film released by a streaming service to ever score Best Picture. Netflix executives spent heavily on a campaign to get the film over the top after years of eyeing the prize.

But many wondered if the fact that Roma was released by Netflix would actually set it back. After all, the streaming platform's policy of premiering movies online at the same time as, or within weeks of, an extremely limited theatrical debut riled up many old-school Hollywood insiders.

Indeed, it seems likely that Netflix misgivings held Roma back, with Variety's Ramin Setoodeh on Sunday saying, "Many Oscar voters that I talked to truly loved it, but also a bloc voted against it because they didn't want a Netflix movie to land Best Picture." This could explain Green Book's surprise victory. There was no real frontrunner for Best Picture outside of Roma, allowing an easygoing, traditional studio drama to squeak in.

Then again, it's not as if Roma was an obvious winner outside of the Netflix factor; no foreign-language film has ever taken Best Picture. And the film didn't walk away from the Oscars empty-handed, winning three awards including Best Foreign Language Film.

But the question now is this: Can Netflix ever win Best Picture? One Hollywood agent in September told The Washington Post that "If Roma can't win, Netflix can never win." But the streamer likely won't have to wait long before another shot, as Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, a crime drama starring Robert De Niro, will be eligible next year.