Last night, The Irishman, nominated for five Golden Globe awards (including Best Motion Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay and two Best Supporting Actor noms) walked away with zero. Zilch. Nada. For a company who has spent upwards of $50 million dollars on an awards campaign, it was the lack of results that were stunning.
But that’s not the story.
What we’re really wondering about today…the morning after the debacle, is who is getting sunshined today at Netflix on their Awards team? In fact, is the whole Awards team responsible for making The Irishman Netflix’s big first narrative awards winner, sitting in a room getting sunshined all day long?
Oh, sorry. What’s sunshining?
Well, you could read this article, entitled “All the ways Netflix culture sounds like your worst work nightmare” or you could read this one, entitled “The Netflix Pressure-Cooker: A Culture That Drives Performance” over at Forbes. Both of them would tell you that at Netflix, when you make a mistake, those mistakes are “sunshined” North Korea-style. See, when someone has behaved inappropriately or taken an unquestionable action, they are asked to “sunshine” the incident in front of a group of their peers. Now, we’re not sure if once that happens, people throw tomatoes at them or waterboard them, but what we are sure about?
There is clearly a lot of Irishman-sunshining going on today over at the Netflix HQ.
“A Korean employee who left earlier this year from the Singapore office said the culture encouraging harsh feedback at times reminded her of North Korea, where mothers are forced to criticize their sons in front of the public.”
Maybe you weren’t aware, but Netflix has spent the last year hiring away Awards strategists, publicists and their minions from other companies. In some scenarios, they lifted and shifted an entire company of Awards experts and hired them inside the glowing-red behemoth. At the same time, Netflix has done their part to get as many of their employees into the voting bodies that determine awards to give them as much chance at winning the coveted golden Gods as the major studios. And with $190+ million invested in The Irishman‘s production and (at least) $50+ million on the awards campaign, the screeners, the meals, the events, the one-of-a-kind bloody horse head mailers…they have a lot riding on the outcome of this endeavor.
So when the Golden Globes came and the Golden Globes went, and there was nothing to show for those five nominations? You can imagine those calendar invites for Monday morning that dropped in all the inboxes of the Awards team probably had a subject line something to the effect of:
Sunshining: 9am to Midnight (Breakfast Served!)
So, the big question is — who’s going to remain at the tech giant in the Awards department? Who’s going to voluntarily leave? How many will survive? Well, in order for those questions to have answers, we’ll have to wait until the nominations and awards for the Oscars to find out. But you can bet your $12.99 monthly subscription for the streaming service that if The Irishman doesn’t win Best Picture, or at least a Directing and Screenplay nod when the Oscars make their final winning announcements, there will be a lot of Netflix Awards employees making their final e-mail announcements of their personal contact information right before they’re escorted out the door into the sunshine.
Yes, that kind of sunshine. Not the other.