STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'Roma' leads streaming push into Oscar race

Netflix desperately wants to make its mark on the Oscar race, and in Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical "Roma...

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 1:20 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 1:20 PM

Netflix desperately wants to make its mark on the Oscar race, and in Alfonso Cuaron's autobiographical "Roma," it has its strongest contender yet. Yet the streaming service -- having roiled the TV business -- appears determined to storm the movie-awards competition in similar fashion, which means breaking rules and operating very much on its own terms.

Tellingly, two of the year's best films, "Roma" and "Cold War," come from Netflix and streaming rival Amazon. Moreover, the two have a great deal in common: Both are foreign-language period pieces set outside the US, which were shot in black and white, reflecting the latitude that comes with being relatively unfettered by traditional financial considerations.

Academy Awards

Arts and entertainment

Awards and prizes

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Entertainment and arts awards

Media industry

Movie and video industry

Movie awards

Movies

Alfonso Cuaron

Broadcasting industry

Celebrities

Cold war

Companies

Conflicts and wars

Digital and streaming video

Internet and WWW

Internet broadcasting

Netflix Incorporated

Streaming media

Technology

Unrest, conflicts and war

"Roma" looks back at Cuaron's youth in Mexico, focusing on the family maid (played by Yalitza Aparicio) that helped raise him. Amazon's "Cold War" presents a bleak love story -- primarily unfolding in Poland during the aftermath of World War II -- from Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, winner of the 2015 foreign-language Oscar for "Ida."

Both movies are vying for foreign-language honors -- representing Mexico and Poland, respectively -- as well as courting consideration as best picture.

Thanks to Cuaron, a much-admired, eclectic filmmaker whose credits include "Gravity" and the third "Harry Potter" movie, "Roma" is perhaps uniquely positioned to overcome hurdles. In a sign of Netflix's high hopes, the service has departed from its day-date theatrical/streaming release strategy, carving out an exclusive theatrical window for "Roma," which premiered last week in New York and Los Angeles. The film expands to other cities over the next two weekends, before landing on Netflix in mid-December.

Despite that concession, Netflix is maintaining its approach of opting not to release box-office totals, in much the way that it refuses to issue viewer data for its TV programming.

Although Netflix is remaining tight lipped, Deadline, citing industry sources, estimated strong early returns for "Roma," based in part on sold-out screenings for the few theaters playing it in New York and L.A. Still, in a year where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences flirted with introducing a "popular film" category, that means Oscar voters will likely be left guessing, at least in part, regarding the extent to which "Roma" has connected with audiences.

Granted, very little about either "Roma" or "Cold War" (which opens Dec. 21) would augur major box-office returns. The two films, in fact, are practically the definition of projects made without much concern about the tyranny of commercial appeal.

By contrast, the critical acclaim being showered on Cuaron's film -- a slow, spare, ultimately deeply moving project -- is obviously a big part of Netflix's battle plan. "Roma" has already garnered overwhelming praise, as various critics' groups prepare to weigh in with their annual year-end honors.

Netflix has consistently flouted conventions in its assault on the TV business and its norms, and accolades have followed. The service amassed the most Emmy nominations of any programmer this year, and tied longtime leader HBO in overall wins.

The movie business poses its own unique challenges, and perhaps even greater skepticism about these streaming upstarts. If Netflix has demonstrated anything, however, it's a determination to play by its own rules and, in an industry where money talks, throw money at acquiring credibility and prestige.

Those practices will be tested as awards season kicks into full swing. But if they yield dividends, the kudos that come to "Roma" won't have been built in a day.

"Roma" is playing in New York and Los Angeles. It expands to additional cities on Nov. 29 and Dec. 5 and premieres on Netflix on Dec. 14.

"Cold War" premieres Dec. 21 in the US. It's rated R.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 51°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 45°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather