Why Netflix and New Hollywood Have Won the Golden Globe Awards Already

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations, announced December 9, constitute an emphatic victory for Netflix in its ongoing war with Old Hollywood.

Netflix, the leading New Hollywood entertainment company, secured 17 nominations in film categories, an all-time Golden Globe Awards high for Netflix. The noms include Best Motion Picture — Drama for Netflix originals , , and .

No one achieved as many film nominations as Netflix did. The runner up, Sony Pictures, got 10. New Hollywood rival Amazon Studios got two noms.

And to think: Netflix only began creating original content in 2013 and its first original film in 2015.

These nominations are important because the Golden Globes are considered a preview of Academy Award nominations. (The 77th Golden Globes are broadcast on January 5, 2020. The 91st Academy Awards happen February 9.)

Netflix Creates a Home for New Hollywood Artists

Netflix has accelerated its growth by becoming a home for New Hollywood artists. New Hollywood storytellers create daring, original work that challenges audiences instead of comforting them with predictable tropes. New Hollywood artists are willing to work outside the traditional studio system and finance their films with New Hollywood entertainment companies such as Amazon Studios and Netflix. In turn, New Hollywood companies stream their movies (complemented by limited runs in theaters), thus disrupting the traditional way of distributing movies through theaters exclusively.

Martin Scorsese: New Hollywood Master

The first wave of New Hollywood storytellers, such as Martin Scorsese, have emerged from Old Hollywood. Scorsese’s latest film, , is a risky, expensive epic clocking in at more than 3 hours. It’s a demanding and emotionally draining tale of gangsters facing the consequences of their violent lives. Old Hollywood studios wouldn’t finance . So he partnered with Netflix.

Scorsese learned that working with New Hollywood creates complications. Netflix distributed the movie for a short period of time in theaters, causing a rift with theaters. Scorsese would have preferred that be experienced on the big screen, and he fretted over people streaming the movie on small devices. In addition, he had to accept the reality that even though The Irishman scored strong viewing ratings when it dropped Thanksgiving weekend, many viewers didn’t watch the movie all the way through.

But what choice did Martin Scorsese have? Despite his career achievements, and despite his obvious mastery of the gangster genre, this legendary director couldn’t get a studio to finance . It’s the same situation Alfonso Cuarón faced when he made his critically acclaimed , distributed by Netflix in 2018. As Cuarón said of ,

As Scorsese said recently at the BFI London Film Festival, “There’s no doubt that seeing a film with an audience is really important. There is a problem though: we have to make the film. We’ve run out of room, in a sense; there was no room for us to make this picture, for many reasons.”

Netflix gave him room.

Fernando Meirelles and The Two Popes

Another Netflix movie that scored multiple Golden Globe Awards nominations, , may not have received as much attention as. But securing two acting noms, a writing nom, and director nom should help. The movie’s director, Fernando Meirelles, is another storyteller noted for making original art, including his acclaimed. When asked him about creating with Netflix, he said,

is certainly a specific film for a specific audience, focusing on Pope Benedict and future Pope Francis finding a common ground as they chart a future for the Catholic Church — not exactly an Old Hollywood crowd pleaser like a Marvel movie is.

(And speaking of Marvel: like Martin Scorsese, Fernando Meirelles has a low opinion of Marvel. As he told : “I know that they are big but I don’t watch them. I mean, I like the technique, sometimes I watch fragments and trailers and all the VFX and the production is really spectacular, really first class people are involved. But I can’t engage with the story, I get sleepy. Sometimes I watch those at the cinema and after half an hour I am sleepy. It’s very overwhelming. It doesn’t interest me at all.)

Noah Baumbach: “People Have a Choice”

, with six nominations, achieved more Golden Globe nominations than any other movie, period. Here is another demanding and difficult film from an original voice, Noah Baumbach. He is known for making intensely personal stories such as — a quintessential New Hollywood voice. With , Baumbach takes on the topic of divorce, drawing from his own life.

Like Scorsese, he would prefer people watch the movie in theaters. The price of working with Netflix is accepting a limited movie release. But the upside of working with Netflix is finding an audience. As he told ,

All of Netflix’s nominations face formidable competition, including , , , and , all of which scored nominations in major film categories. But regardless of what happens when the Golden Globe Awards winners are announced on January 5, New Hollywood has won. Netflix has scored a major victory: 17 nominations are not a fluke. And when Netflix wins, New Hollywood artists win. Each Netflix nomination is an affirmation for storytellers who want to make personal, risky films that might not appeal to everyone — works that might take time to build a fan base beyond the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Filmmakers are competing not only with blockbuster movies. They’re also competing with games, music streaming, podcasts, user-generated content (e.g., TikTok), and many other distractions across online and offline media.

These artists need a home like Netflix.

Writer and pop culture lover.

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