‘CODA’ is an expression of the new era of entertainment led by OTT

New Delhi: When the pilot episode of Netflix’s political drama series “House of Cards,” starring now-disgraced Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series in 2013, it was the first award to be picked up by a web-only TV show in entertainment history.

A few months later, Wright won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series. Since then, there has been no turning back for streamers as year after year they have been vying for top entertainment awards across all categories, firmly establishing their presence as new global content powerhouses. .

And their coming of age was heralded at the recently concluded Oscars, before awards chatter was dropped by Will Smith’s ‘slapgate’ when the Apple TV+ movie, ‘CODA’, went home. him with the trophy for best picture. Apple TV+ made movie history by becoming the first streaming service to win Best Picture at the Oscars, which just completed their 94th year.

His contest set included Netflix’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ – which won Jane Campion Best Director – and Leonardo DiCaprio’s starring ‘Don’t Look Up’, also from Netflix, as well as ‘Belfast’ by Kenneth Branagh, Guillermo del “Nightmare Alley” by Toro, “Dune” by Denis Villeneuve, “West Side Story” by Steven Spielberg, the film by Will Smith, “King Richard”, “Licorice Pizza” — all studio products Hollywood — and the Japanese auteur film ‘Drive My Car’.

‘CODA’ also won Troy Kotsur the supporting actor trophy – yet another historic achievement, as he was the second deaf actor to win the award after the groundbreaking one his ‘CODA’ co-star Marlee Matlin won. won for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986.

In the film’s third Oscar night win, “CODA” director Sian Heder won in the adapted screenplay category, where she took on Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog’) – the competing films mentioned here, by the way, are both Netflix Originals.

Not that ‘CODA’ (the acronym stands for ‘Children of Deaf Adults’) was the first film from a streaming platform to get noticed at the Oscars – Alfonso Cuaron won the Oscars for Best Direction and Best Picture foreign in 2019; ‘tick…tick…BOOM!’ starring Andrew Garfield, Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’, ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ and Chadwick Boseman’s film ‘My Rainey’s Black Bottom’ all earned multiple Oscar nominations and also won the prized statuette – albeit to a lesser extent categories.

Also at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, held in downtown Los Angeles at the LA Live entertainment complex in September last year, streaming platforms were there in full force.

Netflix’s “The Crown” reigned the awards with seven accolades, including drama series. Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” won four; HBO Max’s “Hacks” and HBO’s “Mare of Easttown” picked up three wins apiece; and Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” won two accolades, including one for a limited series.

Decidedly, the streaming platforms have arrived. In India, they came to life with the first pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020 with a bunch of original content – ​​starting with ‘Sacred Games’ on Netflix with Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui and ‘Mirzapur’ on Amazon Prime with Pankaj Tripathi and promising young talents such as Divyenndu, Shweta Tripathi, Abhishek Banerjee and Rasika Dugal.

And they have not only brought regional language content to a global audience, but have also provided an abundance of new creative opportunities for Indian filmmakers and writers, helping them break out of the Bollywood box and bringing in creators such as Ashwini Iyer. Tiwari, Reema Kagti, Alankrita Srivastava and Arati Kagal (and many more) in the spotlight.

From ‘The Empire’ and ‘Scam 1992’ to ‘Delhi Crime’, ‘Family Man’, ‘Rocket Boys’ and ‘Human’, original content spanning multiple genres is being produced by Indian talents who are in the midst of a process creative efflorescence. OTT platforms have also introduced landmark literary novels such as Vikram Chandra’s ‘Sacred Games’, Vikram Seth’s ‘A Decent Boy’ and Aravind Adiga’s ‘White Tiger’, as well as Satyajit Ray’s lesser-known psychological short stories. , to a new generation of consumers.

Likewise, they have resurrected the careers and shown how brilliant actors they are of Bollywood stars of yesteryear such as Sushmita Sen (“Aarya”), Raveena Tandon (“Aranyak”), Madhuri Dixit (“The Fame Game “) and Juhi Chawla (in Rishi Kapoor’s newly released posthumous film, “Sharmaji Namkeen”).

And they’ve taken Indian content creators into territory Bollywood wouldn’t easily reach – like in the Lara Bhupathi-led Lionsgate series, “Hiccups and Hookups” (with its many sex talks), “Four More Shots Please !” (which celebrates “imperfect” women) and the more recent “Eternally Confused and Eager for Love” (a comedy-drama about how a young man navigates love, sex and relationships).

As Hollywood studios learned after checking their balance sheets (in 2019, of their $42 billion in box office revenue, $31 billion came from outside America), diversity makes sense. commercially. You can’t become a global content powerhouse by rolling out unilinear, monochromatic stories.

Even the most American of all entertainment genres, the superhero movie, is now also the most diverse, whether it’s Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” or the supergirl-starring “Ms. Marvel” TV series. Muslim named “Kamala Khan” (you can’t get more inclusive than that) as a star.

Streaming platforms had to learn this existential lesson even as they established themselves. While the United States remains Netfix’s largest market with 67 million subscribers, Brazil is second with 18 million, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and France. And of the 129 million Disney+ subscribers, only 43 million are in the US and Canada, 41 million elsewhere in the world and, hold your breath, 45.9 million in India with Disney+ Hotstar.

Even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw the meaning and changed the composition of its electoral body, representing greater equality between genders, race and ethnicity. The new composition includes 45% women, 36% ethnic/racial communities and 49% international members from 68 countries.

For Indian talent, whether it’s veteran Shabana Azmi in the Steven Spielberg-produced military sci-fi thriller ‘Halo’, inspired by the Xbox video game of the same name, or now-international celebrity Priyanka Chopra in The upcoming Amazon Prime sci-fi video drama series, “The Citadel,” has the world just opened up — and how!

OTT platforms have become not only the new global content powerhouses rewriting the rules of the entertainment industry, but also the creators of a new breed of global stars who are redefining our idea of ​​the performing arts.

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