Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke called Monday’s Oscar nominations “a great morning” for Amazon in the wake of a record 12 nominations for the streaming service, saying it’s exciting to have Amazon Studios be “part of the conversation” at Oscar time.
She also told TheWrap that Amazon would continue its deep dive into original movie content in the near future, including the upcoming “Being the Ricardos,” directed by Aaron Sorkin with Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz. There is a lot of great content that we’re gearing up on the movie side,” Salke said. “You can look forward to more original movies from us.”
Amazon Studios received 12 nominations, including Best Picture (“Sound of Metal,” which netted 6 nominations including a Best Actor nomination for Riz Ahmed); Paul Raci for best supporting actor, and best original screenplay); 3 nominations for “One Night in Miami” (Best Supporting Actor for Leslie Odom Jr., Best Adapted Screenplay for Kemp Powers and Best Original Song for “Speak Now” from Odom).
Amazon also received 2 nominations for “Borat: Subsequent Movie Film” for Maria Bakalova (Best Supporting Actress) and Best Adapted Screenplay. “Time” got a nomination for Best Documentary.
“I think for us the goal has always been to have movies that feel culturally meaningful, diverse and inclusive,” Salke told TheWrap. “I think that has really resonated with ‘One Night in Miami,’ ‘Sound of Metal’ … are all very different in a way.” Salke called the films “international, entertaining and inspirational.” She added that even though ‘Borat’ is “wildly entertaining” the film also touches on culturally relevant issues.
Former NBC entertainment president Salke, who was named Amazon Studios chief in 2018, acknowledged that the pandemic has fueled the rise of streaming in the past year but said she does not predict gloom and doom for theatrical releases. “I don’t think it’s a one size fits all strategy,” she said. “I don’t think streaming original movies and creating global events out of those releases is going to go away any time soon, but there is a huge passion (to) be together physically, to see a movie outside of our living rooms…but our goal is always to get the movie out to our global audience as soon as possible.”
Salke said the Amazon films nominated reflect the studio’s ongoing commitment to diversity. “It has been three years since I arrived at Amazon and our goal out of the gate was to recognize our diverse global viewership and customer base,” she said. “We realize that we need to bring inspiring, entertaining, culturally meaningful content…in the choices that we’re making it’s a huge priority.
Amazon won its first Oscars in 2017, netting three awards: two for “Manchester” (Best Actor Casey Affleck, Best Original Screenplay Kenneth Lonergan) and “The Salesman,” which won for Best Foreign Language Film (the category has since been changed to Best International Feature). Amazon received one Oscar nom in 2020 for Ladj Ly’s”Les Misérables” a French film competing in the Best International Feature category. “Les Misérables” was aced out by Korean film “Parasite,” which also became the first International Feature Film winner, and first non-English film overall, to also win Best Picture.
Amazon Studios won three Golden Globe awards at Feb.28th’s 78th Golden Globes for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” including best picture musical or comedy — a first win the category for a streaming service — and best actor in musical or comedy for star Sacha Baron Cohen.
John Boyega won a best supporting actor Globe for his role in “Small Axe.”
Amazon had been nominated for 10 Golden Globes overall, the most for the streaming service since 2017. Netflix led the way during that awards show, winning 10 trophies.