Apple Original Films, a relatively new player in the film industry, is making waves in the Academy Awards scene. Despite only being active since 2019, the studio has already made history by winning Best Picture in 2022 with “CODA,” marking the first time a streaming service has ever received the top award. Apple has received a total of 10 Oscar nominations in the past three years, with four wins. With the highly-anticipated release of Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Apple is once again pushing for Academy Award glory. As Sony distributes the film, early reviews highlight its sly humor and striking balance between playful moments and intense battle sequences. However, the film’s long run-time and tonal dichotomy may polarize viewers.
While “Napoleon” has garnered critical praise for its cast and director, Apple faces stiff competition for nominations. The Academy Awards race leading up to November seemed to be dominated by Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Universal’s “Oppenheimer.” These films, collectively known as “Barbenheimer,” were released earlier to tremendous critical acclaim and box office success. Due to the limitations on actors promoting films during the pandemic, many studios opted to delay theatrical releases until later in the year or even 2024. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. and Legendary Studio’s “Dune: Part Two” will not be part of this year’s Oscar race, as it has been postponed to March of next year. As the year comes to a close, numerous Academy Award contenders are flooding the market, including Apple’s other major contender, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, this three-hour and 26-minute Western crime drama is expected to generate significant buzz.
The Growing List of Potential Nominees
As the race for the 2024 Academy Awards heats up, potential Best Picture nominees are emerging. In addition to “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” films like “American Fiction,” “Poor Things,” and “The Holdovers” are also contenders. This shortlist is growing rapidly as the industry awaits critical analysis and audience reception. With the actor strike settled, stars can now actively campaign for their films, fueling the momentum of these Thanksgiving entries. Apple Original Films and other studios hope to position their projects as noteworthy and viable Oscar contenders.
Both Joaquin Phoenix and Ridley Scott come with a track record of success at the Academy Awards. Phoenix won Best Actor for his role in “Joker” in 2020 and has received nominations for other notable performances. Similarly, Scott has earned multiple Best Director nominations and his film “The Martian” was nominated for Best Picture. With its remarkable cast, “Napoleon” may also be a strong contender in categories such as Production Design, Costume Design, Sound, and Editing. Box office analysts are optimistic that the film will attract the coveted adult moviegoing audience, who have been slower to return to theaters. The film’s early showings generated $3 million, and it is projected to reach around $22 million during the five-day Thanksgiving frame.
The Streaming Service Strategy
Apple’s success in the film industry extends beyond accolades and awards. As a streaming service, Apple TV+ uses the prestige associated with Hollywood nominations and critical acclaim to drive subscriber sign-ups and attract top talent. While Apple does not publicly disclose specific data about their streaming platform, it leverages its partnership with renowned creatives to sell Apple products. By offering financial resources and creative freedom, Apple has become an undeniable force during awards season.
Apple Original Films has cemented its place in the Academy Awards race. With its recent Best Picture win and a slate of compelling films, such as “Napoleon” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Apple continues to make a name for itself in the industry. As the competition intensifies and the list of potential nominees grows, it remains to be seen how Apple’s films will fare in the highly anticipated 2024 Academy Awards.