Though it cost them millions of dollars, Netflix has scored their first Best Picture nomination at the Oscars for their black & white foreign language drama Roma. Now they are attempting another first. They want to be the first non-Hollywood studio to join the MPAA.
Discussions between Netflix and the Motion Picture Association of America are in the advanced stages. This will be the first time ever that the MPAA has welcomed an outsider into the fold. But Netflix feels they have earned a spot amongst the movie industry's top trade group.
The six major Hollywood studios make up the ranks of the MPAA, a top trade and lobbying organization. And they will be the deciding factor on whether Netflix is allowed into this select council. The decision could be decided as early as today. Though, the whole thing is being looked at as a maverick move. This has never happened in the history of the MPAA, and that's not being taken lightly. What next? Hulu? Amazon Prime? It's reported that some other streaming services with original content are being courted at this time.
This MPAA news is coming directly on the heels of Netflix officially becoming a full-fledged member of the Oscars race. Roma garnered 10 nominations, tying for most with The Favourite. The streaming service garnered 15 nominations in all, with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs picking up a Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume, and Best Original Song nominations as well.
Netflix chief Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos are determined to turn their streaming service into a full-fledged movie business. While there are 6 major studios in the MPAA right now, Disney will soon swallow all of Fox, leaving a position open at the table. That will mean a loss of between $10 million to $12 million in annual dues, so that may make Netflix a more attractive candidate, since they will be bringing in that missing money.
The discussions between Netflix and the MPAA are ongoing as of this writing. The two entities have already collaborated together on copyright protection, which is stated as a priority for MPAA chairman-CEO Charles Rivkin. The move to have Netflix join the MPAA could anger some theater owners though, which will not be taken lightly. Some already refuse to carry Netflix's original content, with AMC banning Roma from their special Oscars screenings. It is noted by The Hollywood Reporter that the MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners administer the ratings system together.