Oscars 2022: Netflix Might Finally Have Its First Best Picture Winner

It’s time again for the Academy Awards. And as Oscar voters’ ballots are tallied up, both fans and industry insiders wait with bated breath to find out which films will receive nominations. Oscars 2022 could mark a significant shift for the show in a few different ways. For starters, the 94th Academy Awards ceremony will be the first with an Oscar host since 2018. But it will likely also be the first time a streaming service — in this case, Netflix — wins Best Picture.

The Netflix logo on an office building amid a cityscape
The Netflix logo | ROBYN BECK/AFP

Netflix has been building up to its first Best Picture win

For years, streaming services have been on the rise. Netflix was perhaps the first to kick off this trend in a big way. Since its inception, others like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max have joined in on the streaming wars. But Netflix still retains the largest subscriber base and has thus been leading the shift in awards season. In fact, Netflix has been inching closer and closer to a Best Picture Oscar win for the past three years.

In 2019, the streaming service secured its first Best Picture nomination with Roma. And though it didn’t win, it did win three Oscars, including Best Director. Then in 2020, Netflix films The Irishman and Marriage Story both made the nominated films for Best Picture. And 2021 saw Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7 contend for the evening’s top prize. Now it seems Netflix is finally ready to step up and claim Best Picture at Oscars 2022.

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Oscars 2022 gives the streaming service its best chance

All throughout awards season, one movie has continually popped up: Netflix’s The Power of the Dog. Writer-director Jane Campion’s (The Piano) Western drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. And both the film’s cast and its director are prime contenders going into the 2022 Oscars. However, the film’s best shot at walking home with an Academy Award is in the Best Picture race.

According to Gold Derby — which tracks awards season odds and predictions — The Power of the Dog has a commanding lead over its competition. The film currently has 7-to-1 odds, putting it ahead of films such as Belfast, West Side Story, King Richard, and Dune. Another Netflix film, Tick, Tick… Boom!, currently sits at number 9, meaning it very well could get a Best Picture nomination too.

The 2022 Academy Awards could have a lasting impact

With the nominations not even announced yet, The Power of the Dog‘s victory isn’t completely certain. But with the track record of predicted winners versus actual winners in recent years, it’s about as much of a sure thing as fans can hope for. And if it Campion’s movie does win, there’s the question of how it could change the industry.

Especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, streaming services like Netflix has dominated the marketplace. But awards giving bodies such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the organization behind the Oscars — have been hesitant to embrace streamers as an key part of the way forward. A Best Picture win for Netflix’s The Power of the Dog could be Hollywood finally relenting to the inevitable.

The 94th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on February 8, 2022.

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