Netflix leads Oscar nominations with 24 nods—a first for a streaming service

Key Points
  • Netflix earned 24 nominations for the Academy Awards, more than any other media company this year.
  • Disney scored 23 nominations and Sony had 20.
  • Warner Bros. earned the distinction of having the most-nominated film of the year with "Joker" nabbing 11 nominations.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano star in Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman."

For the first time in Academy Award history, the studio with the most nominations is a streaming service.

On Monday, Netflix nabbed 24 nominations for the big awards ceremony, more than any other media company in the industry this year. Netflix's achievement illustrates a new attitude from the Academy toward streaming services.

Martin Scorsese's mobster epic "The Irishman" garnered 10 nominations, "Marriage Story" scored six, "The Two Popes" earned three and its first animated feature "Klaus" found itself on the best animated feature ballot.

Additionally, Netflix earned nominations for two feature documentaries ("American Factory" and "The Edge of Democracy") and one documentary short ("Life Overtakes Me").

Netflix's road to the Oscars hasn't been an easy one. The streaming service has clashed with creators, theater owners and the Academy.

As recent as April, the Academy was warned by the U.S. Department of Justice that its potential rule changes, which would limit the eligibility of Netflix and other streaming services, could raise antitrust concerns and violate laws aimed at protecting competition.

However, in the past, the biggest sticking point for Netflix was with theater owners. Traditionally, Hollywood studios, and even Amazon, have agreed to 90-day theatrical release windows, which means a film has to run in theaters for about three months before being available on video-on-demand or on a streaming service's site or app.

Netflix has never been interested in making money at the box office. Instead, it's about prestige and winning over subscribers.

To achieve this Netflix must screen its movies in theaters for at least a short time. The Academy's rules for eligibility require a film run for at least seven consecutive days at a commercial theater in Los Angeles County. The film must also be shown at least three times a day, with at least one screening between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

2018's "Roma" was Netflix's first film to be nominated for best picture. While the film didn't win, it did pick up the best international feature, best director and best cinematography awards. This kind of esteem not only proves that Netflix can create quality content, just like a traditional studio, but also helps convince independent theater owners to allow future Netflix films to play in their theaters.

And Netflix's purchase of The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood means the streaming service doesn't have to rely on third parties to show its films to the public.

Of course, earning the most nominations doesn't mean Netflix will come home with the most awards. In December, the streaming service garnered the most Golden Globe nominations (17), but only won two awards.

Not far behind Netflix's nomination count was Disney, which scored 23 nominations on Monday.

In addition to Disney's own studios, the company recently acquired 21st Century Fox, which owned both the 20th Century Fox label and Fox Searchlight.

Fox Searchlight earned six nominations for Taika Waititi's "Jojo Rabbit" and 20th Century Fox garnered four from "Ford v. Ferrari." In addition Disney secured nominations for "Toy Story 4," "The Lion King," "Avengers: Endgame," "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" and "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."

Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis star in "Jojo Rabbit."
Disney | Fox Searchlight

Sony, too, had a good haul. The studio received 20 nominations for critically acclaimed films like "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," "Little Women" and "Pain and Glory."

While not an overall nomination leader, Warner Bros. earned the distinction of having the most-nominated film of the year. "Joker" starring Joaquin Phoenix had 11 nominations including best director, best actor and best picture. The studio also had one nomination for best supporting actress for Kathy Bates in "Richard Jewell."

Universal ultimately scored 13 nominations, 10 of which came from Sam Mendes' World War I flick "1917." It also earned a place on the animated feature ballot with DreamWorks Animation's "How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World" and its Focus Feature's film "Harriet" nabbed two nominations.

New York-based Neon scored eight nominations, six of which came from the South Korean film "Parasite" and Santa Monica-based Lionsgate earned four nominations for "Bombshell" and "Knives Out."

The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 9 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

Netflix grabs the most Oscar nominations with 24
Netflix grabs the most Oscar nominations with 24