Why there's still hope for Netflix despite 'Irishman' Oscar shutout

·Senior Reporter
·3 min read

The 92nd Academy Awards came with its fair share of surprises — from Eminem’s unexpected “Lose Yourself” performance to “Parasite” nabbing the top prize for best picture.

But it was Netflix’s (NFLX) disappointing Oscar finish that stood out to movie lovers. The prized Martin Scorsese-directed crime drama, “The Irishman,” went from being the platform’s strongest award show contender to ending the night with zero recognition.

Still, it might not be all doom and gloom as streamers often have the slight edge due to easy access to consumers.

For example, a curious Netflix subscriber who watches “The Irishman” might stick around to watch “Marriage Story” or “American Factory” — an unspoken benefit that many production houses lack.

Meanwhile, a viewer who watches “Little Women” might not rush to the box office to see a film like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — despite the fact that both movies are produced by Sony (SNE).

Laura Dern took home best supporting actress for her role in Netflix's "Marriage Story"
Laura Dern took home best supporting actress for her role in Netflix's "Marriage Story"

Streaming also has time on its side, as those who are late to see an Oscar nominee or winner might just decide to wait until the film becomes available on a platform like Netflix — once again boosting the bottom line, while undervaluing the Oscar appeal at the box office.

Furthermore, the post-nomination pop can often be greater than a win.

According to data from Comscore, most films see a post-nomination surge in the double or even triple digits. Yet the response following a win is much more muted.

Oscar viewership hits all-time low

As for the Oscar ceremony itself, however, the future remains murky. Ratings for the show, which went hostless for the second year in a row and clocked in at 3 hours and 35 minutes, hit an all-time low at 23.6 million, according to the latest figures from Nielsen.

This comes after a steady decline in viewership since 2014, when the program notched a decade-high of 43.7 million. The exception came last year after the show saw its first ratings increase in five years: Coincidentally, the same time it bet big on no traditional host.

Oscar viewership hits all-time low in 2020 (Courtesy: Nielsen)
Oscar viewership hits all-time low in 2020 (Courtesy: Nielsen)

Given the slight bump in ratings, it would appear as though the Academy wanted to re-create the same formula heading into 2020.

But the attempt didn’t work this time around — and it’s unclear if it will again.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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