“CODA” wins best picture award, making Apple TV+ the first streaming service to get Oscar’s highest honor

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On Sunday, March 27, Apple TV+ made history when its movie, “CODA”, won three awards at the Oscars, including Best Picture top honors, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Troy Kotsur, CODA’s actor, the Best Supporting Actor.

Back in January 2021, Apple acquired the movie from Sundance in a record-setting $25 million deal. “CODA” is a heartwarming drama about a girl whose parents are deaf who pursues her passion for music premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The film turned out to be the festival favorite before the iPhone maker secured streaming rights. Troy Kotsur is the first Deaf male actor to win the best-supporting actor trophy and the second Deaf actor following Marlee Matlin, who won in 1986. Matlin is “CODA” co-star and won an award for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1986. So in under 2 years, Apple has defeated its competitors to become the first streaming service to win the prestigious Best Picture prize.

The movie is not available in all markets where Apple TV+ has a presence because the distribution rights to this film were already sold to regional distributors in most countries, thus denying Apple the worldwide rights. Apple premiered the movie in August 2021, and although it performed well at Sundance, it was not a clear shot for any awards. Actually, it was premiered months earlier than the timeframe when studios targeting the Academy recognition began releasing them.

“CODA” was competing against “The Power of the Dog,” which collected a couple of nominations, while Jane Campion, the film’s director, received an Academy Award. Indeed, the tech giant is thrilled because of winning the award of Best Picture ahead of the competition. This is a significant milestone because, in 2017, the Cannes film festival banned movies not released on the big screen from this competition.

In 2020, theaters closed due to Covid-19. At the same time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences relaxed its Oscar eligibility rules to accommodate movie screens for 7 days in theaters in order to qualify. As a result of this modification, movies that premier via streaming services such as Apple TV+ and Netflix were allowed to compete.

Apple TV+ dived into the streaming services space in November 2019 with few original series and without any TV shows and movie libraries. However, the company has attained outsize awards recognition in TV thanks to the comedy hit “Ted Lasso.” Other awards include top honors from the Producers Guild, Writers Guild, and Screen Actors Guild awards.

This is a good consolation because Apple TV+ subscribers have been growing at a snail’s pace, but it’s now expected that more A+ Hollywood talent will come to Apple’s top bracket, thus boosting its subscriptions as we advance.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

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