LOS ANGELES – In a remarkably short time, Apple Original Films has emerged as a formidable contender in the Oscars arena, creating history with its notable achievements.
Since beginning to release films in 2019, Apple made a significant splash by securing the Best Picture Oscar in 2022 for “CODA,” marking the first instance of a streaming service clinching the prestigious award. Over the past three years, Apple has garnered a total of 10 Oscar nominations and has won four, underscoring its rapid ascent in the film industry.
Apple is poised to vie for further Academy Award acclaim with Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon,” featuring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role. The film, which portrays the life of the famed French military leader and emperor, was released just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with Sony handling its distribution.
Initial reviews have praised “Napoleon” for its blend of humour and intense battle scenes. However, its lengthy duration has drawn some criticism. Despite mixed reviews, performances by Phoenix and direction by Scott are expected to make it a strong contender in the awards race, even as Apple faces stiff competition from numerous high-quality films being released.
The awards season is heating up with several films, including Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” directed by Martin Scorsese, seeking nominations. The film landscape is crowded with potential nominees such as “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie,” which have already made significant impacts at the box office and among critics.
The resolution of the actor’s strike has allowed stars to resume promoting their films, enhancing the visibility and appeal of recent releases as potential Oscar candidates. This development is particularly beneficial for films like “Napoleon,” enabling its cast and crew to engage actively in the awards campaign.
Joaquin Phoenix, known for his captivating performances, and Ridley Scott, a director with a storied career and multiple nominations, are no strangers to the Oscars. Their collaboration on “Napoleon” is anticipated not only to attract attention for its storytelling and production values but also to draw adult audiences back to theatres, a demographic that has shown selective attendance patterns post-pandemic.
While “Napoleon” may not achieve the box office success of some of its competitors, its release underscores the strategic use of high-profile films by streaming platforms like Apple to enhance their brand prestige and attract top talent. Apple’s approach to its streaming service is characterized by a focus on quality content and partnerships with renowned industry figures, reflects its broader ambitions beyond mere subscriber numbers.
As the awards season progresses, Apple’s role in the film industry and its impact on the Oscars continue to evolve, marking a significant shift in how streaming services are perceived in the realm of high-calibre filmmaking and awards recognition.
*Please note that Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC, is mentioned for transparency. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Oppenheimer.

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