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这家公司正努力成为拿奥斯卡奖专业户

Stacey Wilson Hunt 2018年12月03日

专家称,Netflix现在更重视赢得奥斯卡奖,因为获奖可以为公司带来品牌效应。

2018年的圣丹斯电影节上,塔玛拉·詹金斯的电影《私人生活》第一次放映,她也经历了拍电影27年来从未有过的感受。

“我听到身后有人在笑,他们喜欢这部电影。”詹金斯说道。这部片子由Netflix出资,她负责编剧并执导,讲述了一对纽约夫妇因不孕不育而苦苦挣扎的故事。“我转身看到了泰德·萨兰多斯。他像真正的电影爱好者一样。看到高管如此用心地看电影,我其实很吃惊。”

Netflix的首席内容官萨兰多斯非常喜欢《私人生活》,他将这部电影添加到奥斯卡颁奖季推荐的十几部电影片单。成立20年后,有望赢得Netflix奖项的影片将首次在影院上映,在网络正式播放前获得前所未有的预热。片子包括:《私人生活》、保罗·格林格拉斯的《挪威7·22爆炸枪击案》、安迪·瑟金斯的《森林之子毛克利》、科恩兄弟的《巴斯特·斯克鲁格斯的歌谣》、桑德拉·布洛克主演的《蒙上你的眼》,以及导演阿方索·卡隆的西班牙语电影《罗马》。Netflix的推荐影片中最有望角逐奥斯卡的是卡隆作品,将于12月14日正式上线,届时多达20个国家的1.3亿用户均可观看。

When her movie Private Life screened for the first time at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Tamara Jenkins says she experienced something she never had in her 27 years as a filmmaker.

“I heard someone behind me laughing, loving the movie,” says Jenkins, who wrote and directed the Netflix-financed film about a New York couple struggling with infertility. “I turn around and it’s Ted Sarandos. He was reacting to it like a film lover. It was startling to see an executive have a visceral reaction like that.”

Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, loved Private Life so much that he added the movie to the streaming giant’s slate of nearly a dozen films it’s pushing during this long Oscar awards season. For the first time in its 20-year history, Netflix’s awards hopefuls are showing in theaters en masse, receiving unprecedented runs ahead of their stream dates. Among them: Private Life, Paul Greengrass’s 22 July, Andy Serkis’s Mowgli, the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Sandra Bullock–starring Bird Box, and director Alfonso Cuarón’s Spanish language Roma. The Cuarón film, Netflix’s Oscar-contender crown jewel, may appear in up to 20 countries theatrically by the time its 130-million-plus subscribers can stream it on Dec. 14.

导演阿方索·库隆2014年曾因影片《地心引力》荣获奥斯卡导演和剪辑大奖。Netflix希望《罗马》可再获殊荣。图片来源:Jason Merritt—Getty Images 

影片上线之间就大规模推介,其实并不符合萨兰多斯一直以来的原则。这次开创了新历史,一位业内人士表示,此举让诸多想为影迷放映Netflix影片的电影院老板很难过。这也为视频竞争对手打开了一扇新大门,以后颁奖季各家均可想办法推介影片。2016年,亚马逊推出的电影《海边曼彻斯特》就先在影院上映三个月之后才上网,后来获得奥斯卡最佳影片和最佳导演提名,最终捧回最佳原创剧本和最佳男演员奖项。

“Netflix现在更重视赢得奥斯卡奖,可以为公司带来品牌效应。”资深电影记者安妮·汤普森表示,她担任业内刊物《IndieWire》的自由编辑。她表示,去年夏天萨兰多斯聘请好莱坞最受欢迎的奥斯卡推广战略家丽莎·塔巴克(曾负责推广《爱乐之城》和《月光男孩》等)加入公司,就能看出Netflix在下大力气瞄准奥斯卡小金人。另一位匿名的接近好莱坞人士表示,由于Netflix积极搭建商业关系,现在每年花在争取奖项方面的预算可能高达2000万美元。“泰德用以前在电视圈的手段打通电影圈,”汤普森说。“好莱坞都有点害怕了。”

可能由于害怕,也可能出于战略性考虑,《财富》杂志询问好莱坞高管、推广战略家、代理商、学院评委和制片人怎么看Netflix努力争取奖项时,极少有人愿意发表评论。( “大家都不愿亮出底牌,特别是今年。”一位顾问表示。)萨兰多斯和塔巴克也拒绝就本文发表评论,但Netflix的发言人证实了奥斯卡颁奖季的推广策略细节。

Netflix在奥斯卡颁奖典礼上的运气时好时坏。2015年,该公司认为《无境之兽》有望荣获最佳影片奖,但没怎么向评委推荐,影院票房表现也不佳。Netflix凭借2016年的《发生什么了,西蒙妮小姐?》和2017年艾娃·德约列的《第十三修正案》连续获得最佳纪录片提名。今年1月,备受好评的《泥土之界》获得了四项重要提名,但未获最佳影片提名。

萨兰多斯今年的希望都寄在《罗马》一片身上,这部影片是库隆写给幼时保姆的一封情书,当时他生活在墨西哥城罗马社区。这也是Netflix历年推介影片里最有希望夺得最佳影片奖的一部。片子里没有著名演员(主演雅利扎·阿巴里西奥是墨西哥瓦哈卡州的幼儿园老师),全片采用黑白摄影,混合西班牙语和本地方言。一位学院奖成员表示,《罗马》很有可能获得“不太主流”的奥斯卡奖项,比如最佳摄影和最佳音效剪辑,在最容易吸引评委的演员层面可能不太容易突破,因为表演太原生态了。库隆拍摄《罗马》时采用了昂贵的65毫米格式,还用上了杜比全景声录音技术,吸引的观众显然会比《复仇者联盟》更学院派。

据一位高管称,Netflix发布《罗马》时可能采取“四面墙”策略,由制片公司出租影院,以免电影受到票房表现的影响。另一位内部人士指出,Netflix可以“轻松”成为业内最大的奖项广告主。“各种策略都在发挥作用,因为早期学院评委抵触‘电视公司’制作奥斯卡电影的精英主义优越感已然消失。”李奇·利卡塔表示,他是Licata&Co.的资深战略家兼首席执行官。“以前的问题是评委年纪太大,理解不了Netflix。但现在氛围比较正面。奖项行业也有必要创新了。所以Netflix和亚马逊都在努力。巨头们吸引人才,而人才掌控好莱坞。”

今年秋天,詹金斯的《私人生活》一片荣获了哥谭独立电影奖最佳编剧和最佳女主角提名(该奖项通常是奥斯卡的预热)。这样一部由角色推动的、Netflix出品的电影能在美国、英国和加拿大的大屏幕上放映,还可以被选送参加奥斯卡评奖,实在让人兴奋。“我以为最多能在一两家电影院上映,”她说,“根本无法想象能走进21家电影院。感觉像是正式的发行排片。不管在电影世界还是真实世界,这都是最棒的消息。”(财富中文网)

本文另一版本发表于2018年12月1日出版的《财富》杂志,标题为《Netflix的奥斯卡工厂》。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Such a massive rollout bucks Sarandos’s long-standing rule against releasing movies in theaters ahead of their stream dates. It’s a history that one insider says has frustrated theater owners who have been eager to show Netflix films for their cinephile-leaning audiences. It has also opened the door for streaming competitors to establish their own awards-season presence at the multiplex: Amazon’s 2016 film Manchester by the Sea had a three-month theatrical run before it streamed online and went on to earn Best Picture and Best Director nominations and statues for Original Screenplay and Lead Actor.

“Netflix is now prioritizing winning Oscars as a branding benefit for the company,” says Anne Thompson, a veteran film reporter who serves as editor-at-large for the trade publication IndieWire. She says Netflix’s doubling-down on awards was cemented when Sarandos hired Hollywood’s most in-demand Oscar-campaign strategist, Lisa Taback (La La Land, Moonlight), last summer to work in-house for Netflix. Another Hollywood insider, who declined to be named citing active business relationships, estimates the company’s annual awards budget could now be as high as $20 million. “Ted is doing for movies what he’s done for TV,” says Thompson. “And Hollywood is running scared.”

Whether scared or strategic, precious few of the Hollywood executives, campaign strategists, agents, Academy voters, and producers that Fortune asked about Netflix’s awards efforts were willing to speak on the record. (“No one wants to show their hand, especially this year,” one consultant says.) ¬Sarandos and Taback also declined to comment for this article, but a Netflix spokesperson did confirm details of the company’s Oscar-season rollout strategy.

Netflix’s luck at the Academy Awards has ebbed and flowed. In 2015, the company positioned Beasts of No Nation as a Best Picture hopeful, but the film failed to connect with voters and performed poorly in theaters. Netflix earned consecutive Best Documentary nominations in 2016 for What Happened, Miss Simone? and in 2017 for Ava DuVernay’s 13th; in January, the critically acclaimed Mudbound earned four major nominations but failed to break into the Best Picture pool.

Sarandos’s hopes this year are pinned on Roma, Cuarón’s love letter to the nanny who helped raise him in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood in the 1970s. It also may be one of the biggest Best Picture gambles of all time. It features no known actors (lead Yalitza Aparicio is a preschool teacher from Oaxaca), it’s filmed in black and white, and it’s in a mix of Spanish and indigenous languages. One Academy member says Roma risks being favored more by voters in “below the line” Oscar categories like cinematography and sound design and may not connect as easily with the Academy’s largest contingent of voters—actors—because the performances are so natural. Cuarón shot Roma in the expansive 65-millimeter format using Dolby Atmos sound technology, all making it likely to attract an audience that’s more art house than Avengers.

Netflix, according to one executive, therefore will likely employ a “four wall” release strategy for Roma, a tactic in which studios essentially rent out theaters to make films immune to poor box-office performance. Another insider notes that Netflix is “easily” the business’s largest awards advertiser. “It’s all working, because that early sense of elitism among film Academy voters about a ‘TV company’ making Oscar movies is gone,” says Rich Licata, a veteran awards strategist and CEO of Licata & Co. “There was a fallacy of voters being too old to understand Netflix. But the sentiment is positive now. There’s been a need to innovate the awards business. That’s what Netflix and Amazon are both doing. They’re attracting talent, and talent runs Hollywood.”

For Jenkins, whose film Private Life earned nominations for Best Screenplay and Lead Actress from the Gotham Independent Film Awards this fall (often a harbinger of Oscar’s favorites), the idea that a character-driven Netflix movie like hers would land on the big screen across the U.S., in the U.K., and in Canada—let alone be in the mix for Oscars—is still sinking in. “I thought we’d be in one or two theaters total,” she says. “I could have never imagined 21. It actually felt like a real release. It’s been the best of both worlds.”

A version of this article appears in the December 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Netflix’s Oscar Factory.”

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