Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is not content with ruling the book market and moving his company into more creative endeavors like the stellar television series Bosch and The Man in the High Castle.
Now that he has some successes under his belt, he has his eyes set on Oscar.
In recent comments reported by Business Insider, Jeff Bezos said that he and the rest of the company “want to win an Oscar.”
The Amazon Studios brand has already picked up five Emmy Awards for their dramedy Transparent, and they’ve earned some pretty high praise for the aforementioned thrillers.
Clearly, the company is doing something right, but it appears that Netflix’ feature film foray Beasts of No Nation has lit a fire in the man behind the retail giant.
Beasts is getting a lot of early buzz for the Academy Award. While it probably won’t win, the fact that it’s even being mentioned shows how far ahead Netflix has come with their original content creations.
To date, Amazon has been trying to find its way, and a lot of what they’ve tried has failed. But it’s still early, and the successes are starting to seep through the Prime streaming service and into popular culture.
With that said, is it really such a big deal to win an Academy Award anymore? Missteps over the past few years have called the distinction into question.
In fact, according to numbers reported by the New York Post in February 2015, viewership of the annual awards ceremony hit a six-year low with just 36.6 million viewers, a 15 percent drop from the 2014 festivities.
Still, it’s clear that the Oscars are still the biggest deal as awards ceremonies go, dwarfing the Golden Globes (19.3 million viewers) and Grammy Awards (24.8 million).
But with feature films losing much of their prestige to television — in particular, projects like Amazon’s own The Man in the High Castle, AMC’s Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, Netflix’ Longmire, Daredevil, and Orange Is the New Black, and FX’s Fargo — it’s getting more difficult to take it all seriously.
Opponents of that statement will point to details like Star Wars: The Force Awakens breaking so many box office records over its first 10 days, but the accomplishment is an anomaly compared to most films that are released each year, and when you break it down by pure ticket sales, it’s clear that feature films are in decline.
To illustrate this point, look at the highest selling feature film of all time: Avatar. James Cameron’s sci-fi epic created a lot of buzz and coaxed general audiences to theaters en masse, but when you look at the actual tickets sold as tracked by Box Office Mojo, it sold just north of 97 million tickets domestically.
Compare that to a film like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, which falls far short of Avatar‘s “record,” and you’ll see that the 1982 children’s classic sold more than 124 million tickets at the time of its release.
Translation: fewer people are going to the movies than they used to, but escalating ticket prices are floating the high box office takes for films like Avatar and The Force Awakens.
In other words, television projects are cannibalizing box office sales because, by-and-large, more interesting things are happening on the small screen than the big one.
With that reality in place, is Jeff Bezos’ desire for an Oscar setting his sights too low for Amazon Studios?
It would certainly seem that way.
What do you think, readers? Are Jeff Bezos and Amazon wasting their time with the Oscars, or do the Awards still matter? Furthermore, would the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences be well-served in creating a “Best Long-Form Storytelling” category to honor shows like High Castle, Transparent, etc.? Sound off in the comments section.