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Big crowd pleasers like Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody may have dominated the Golden Globes last night; however, Netflix's Roma came through in a few key categories. In fact, Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for the project, prompting one journalist to ask Cuaron how he felt about some distributors believing "that Roma's success signals the death of independent filmmakers." The director's answer was apt:
I think that it's very unfair to say that. Why don't you take the list of foreign films this year, and compare the theatrical release of those films, and for how long they've been playing? See how many are playing in 17 mill. See the territories in which this film is playing.
There have been some outspoken people in the industry who have spoken out against choosing streaming platforms instead of theatrical releases, including big names like Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan. People who don't like the streaming platform have stated its aversion to keeping theaters in business as the main reason they aren't on board. However, to Alfonso Cuaron's way of thinking, it's unfair to compare the two mediums.
He went on in his talk to discuss how his very Mexican-oriented movie was filmed in "black and white" and also "in Spanish." He mentioned it has no stars and would likely never thrive in a regular theatrical release. In that context, he feels Roma is a good fit at Netflix.
I just hope the discussion between Netflix and platforms in general should be over. Think those guys, platforms and theatrical, should go together and just realize that whatever they are doing to this discussion is hurting cinema. They both together they can elevate cinema. And more important: they can create that diversity in cinema.
You can take a look at Alfonso Curaron's full answer (via Variety), below.
The subscription streaming service has started ramping up its efforts to produce original movies by big name directors. Martin Scorsese has a new movie coming in 2019. This year saw Alfonso Cuaron and Joel and Ethan Coen create titles for awards consideration on the streaming platform. (Roma has been more popular with critics than The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.)
Still, Netflix has a long way to go if it hopes to produce big budget titles rivaling what we see on the big screen. The streaming service has attempted to replicate or at least approximate the theatrical experience with movies like Bright, with mixed results.
At some point, it may turn out that Netflix becomes a great platform for the indie filmmaker while people continue to go to the theater for bigger, splashier kinds of spectacle. We'll have to wait and see how the system works in the future, but one thing is for certain: Movie theaters made more money than ever this year.
You can catch Roma on Netflix, now, or take a look at the full list of Golden Globes 2019 winners.