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Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ could be a contender for Best Picture. (via @LACMA on Twitter)

Oscar Watch: Netflix has three potential contenders for the Academy Awards

Editor’s Note: Click here for more Oscars content.

Netflix hasn’t really been a leading distribution company in terms of the Oscars, but that could all change this year.

The streaming platform announced it will release Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, the Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Susanne Bier’s Bird Box in theaters before they hit Netflix. The move breaks from the platform’s tradition of doing a simultaneous release, though those are far and few between.

The move seems to be for the Oscars specifically. To qualify for the Academy’s general awards, the film has to meet a rigorous set of guidelines, including a limited release in the calendar year and at least one screening for admission in an LA County commercial theater. 

Though it fairs well with its documentary subjects, Netflix is often snubbed at the prestigious ceremony for its feature-length films, including Beasts of No Nation. With the new strategy in play, it will be interesting to see if it helps the company. Here is a breakdown of the three Netflix films:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel and Ethan Coen are no strangers to Westerns, and they sure aren’t strangers to the Academy circuit. The makers of No Country for Old Men and True Grit bring the anthology film starring James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson and Brendan Gleeson. The film is broken into segments, which allows the Coen Brothers’ concise screenwriting to flourish. The film may not be a contender for Best Picture, but anticipate the brothers picking up a nod for Best Original Screenplay. 

Bird Box

The thriller from the book by Josh Malerman stars two powerful women: Academy Award-winner Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson. The women are led by Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier. The film takes an A Quiet Place-approach to the plot, but instead of noise, the monster causes insanity through sight. The film has many award winners attached to it, which could up its chances for an Academy Award. 


Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón brings a neorealist film of life in Mexico City for his upcoming film. Roma premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Golden Lion Award, an award last year’s Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, also won. With a similar style the classic Italian film Bicycle Thieves and the autobiographical approach similar to Amarcord, the visually stunning film will surely make its way into the biggest awards at the Oscars.


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