This morning, when the sun came up, it came up behind a cloud and after a day of rain, and quite honestly no matter how much those clouds move on this Monday after Oscars morning, it’s gonna be pretty bleak inside the cherry-red doors of the Netflix HQ.
Netflix desperately wants to win a Best Picture Oscar. They wanted it so badly they did things like (a) hire a well-known awards consultant who used to work for Harvey Weinstein, then hire her entire company and fold it in under the Netflix corporate hierarchy; (b) spent hundreds of millions of dollars on movies like The Irishman, The Two Popes and Marriage Story as well as documentary American Factory; and (c) spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing, coffee table books, trips with journalists, billboards, television ads and plush Martin Scorcese dolls.
This morning, The Irishman landed zero Oscars, The Two Popes landed zero Oscars, Marriage Story took one, and American Factory took one.
Using the mathematical equation of 2o = $500 million ($300 million in content costs and $200 million in marketing), we can calculate that the cost of each Oscar amortizes out to about $250 million.
Two hundred and fifty million per Oscar.
This is about the point in the article where we imagine inserting the largest, most gaudy, unhappy face emoji we can find, because there is no way in Hell that a company like Netflix can (behind closed doors) justify this kind of spend when they are borrowing bad money over bad money just to fund a $17 million dollar a year content fund for a company that has still yet to make a profit.
They’ve got big pictures set for next year. We even predicted some of them landing a Best Picture nomination when we predicted next year’s Oscar nominations and snubs. And despite Academy voters not necessarily wanting to give Netflix a Best Picture win because, well, the collapse of Hollywood as we know it, they still may very well take one home.
But that’s next year. What about this one?
There’s an old joke in Hollywood. The joke is this: What’s the quickest way to become a millionaire in Hollywood: The answer: Spend a billion dollars.
Clearly that is what Netflix is doing, and fast.
All that being said, no company that hopes to survive can weather this kind of storm without making some changes. We already discussed them firing marketing employees and moving others abroad. We wondered if their Awards team would be “sunshined” (fired, lambasted, hazed) for underperforming this year. The bottom line, is yes. Today at Netflix is not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be OK just because American Factory and Laura Dern walked away with an award.
Which is why…sad face emoji here.