academy award winner Tim Cook?
September 27, 2019

Apple CEO Tim Cook is still gunning for an Academy Award.

The company, set to launch its streaming service Apple TV+ this fall, is on its way to becoming a serious player at the Oscars, now with plans to release original movies in theaters before streaming them, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple has reportedly "made overtures to cinema chains" as it eyes this strategy whereby its movies would play exclusively in theaters for weeks.

Apple's movies would then be eligible for the Academy Awards; as Variety notes, films must play in qualifying theaters for at least seven days to be eligible for the Oscars. "Tim Cook wants to go to the Oscars with his pals Jeff Bezos and Reed Hastings," The Verge's Julia Alexander tweeted in response to the news.

Although not an Oscars requirement, major theater chains like AMC and Regal require three months of exclusivity before showing movies, meaning a film can't begin streaming within 90 days of its opening in theaters. Amazon has adhered to that, but Netflix hasn't, and awards pundits have speculated Netflix's consistent bucking of that norm has held voters back from awarding it Best Picture.

But according to the Journal, Apple is looking to "avoid some of the tension created by" Netflix, and Deadline similarly reports Apple will "work with the 90-day theatrical release window." If the theory is correct that Netflix has been hurt at the Oscars due to its theatrical release strategy, then, Apple might be starting out with an advantage among awards voters. The theatrical releases are also intended to attract Hollywood's top talent, who tend to want their movies to show in theaters, the Journal reports.

Cook may not have long to wait for Oscar gold, as with Apple reportedly discussing a theatrical release for its documentary The Elephant Queen this year, it could potentially pick up Oscar gold as soon as the 2020 Academy Awards in February. Brendan Morrow

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