Amazon beat out streaming rival Netflix as the first major streaming company to be nominated for best picture on Tuesday. Amazon-owned Manchester by the Sea was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, and The Salesman, an Amazon-owned foreign film, received one.
It's unprecedented: Amazon only launched their movies business a year ago, and already they are outbidding major studio competitors for content and winning major awards. The retail giant purchased rights to Manchester by the Sea for $10 million at Sundance last year, outbidding the likes of Fox Searchlight and Universal. This year, they have already made the largest acquisition at Sundance with $12 million comedy film The Big Sick.
Why to watch: Amazon and Netflix have both made major investments in content, but Bezos' box office success and critical acclaim are inching him ahead of Reed Hastings. Amazon's success can likely be attributed to their distribution strategy. The tech giant released Manchester by the Sea to box offices and made nearly $39 million dollars, while Netflix released Beasts of No Nation online in tandem with theaters, making an abysmal $91,000 in the box office.