Oscar Watch: Beasts of No Nation

Over the last couple of awards seasons, Netflix programming has found itself receiving Emmy love with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. The streaming service could find itself in the 2015 Oscar mix with the release next month of Beasts of No Nation. Cary Fukunaga, last seen directing the wildly acclaimed first season of HBO’s True Detective, helms this tale of a civil war in a West African country. Netflix acquired the rights to the picture for $12 million and it will premiere simultaneously on its service and in theaters on October 16.

Reviews were quite strong after it screened at the Venice Film Festival days ago. Its inclusion in the Best Picture race may be determined on how later fall releases pan out – like The Revenant, Bridge of Spies, The Hateful Eight and Joy, among others. It would appear to be behind such current contenders such as Steve Jobs and Carol. Where Nation is most likely to receive attention is in the Supporting Actor category with Idris Elba playing a nefarious warlord. It’s a performance said to demand attention and Oscar voters may take notice. I didn’t include Elba among the predicted nominees last week, but may need to reconsider when my second batch of prognostications comes in October.

One thing is for sure: for the first time, expect to hear Netflix and Oscar nominations mentioned together for the first time this year.


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