Netflix is going for the gold statuette by dropping the equivalent of half a metric ton of gold on its Roma Oscar campaign. The streaming giant is reportedly spending upwards of $20 million on wooing awards body voters for Alfonso Cuaron‘s masterpiece, making it the most expensive campaign in nearly a decade.
Not since Columbia Pictures dropped an alleged $25 million on the awards campaign for David Fincher’s The Social Network in 2009 have awards body voters been showered with so many perks, or Los Angeles inundated with so many black-and-white billboards. Netflix is pulling out all the stops for its awards campaign for Roma, currently the streaming giant’s best shot at winning its first Best Picture Oscar statuette.
According to new reports from The New York Times and Fast Company, Netflix is pouring its (seemingly endless) supply of resources into securing Roma a Best Picture nomination — and potentially a win — at the Oscars, spending as much as $20 million or more on the campaign. Heavyweight awards strategist Lisa Taback is running the Roma Oscar campaign, and is reportedly “leaving no stone unturned.”
The Times’ carpetbagger Kyle Buchanan describes the campaign, which extends from the usual collection of expensive gifts, to billboards and Roma events thrown 24/7:
“Hollywood is blanketed in billboards bearing [lead actress Yalitza] Aparicio’s face, ‘Roma’ events are thrown nearly round the clock, and many industry figures received a heavy $175 book about the film published by Assouline. Rival publicists estimate that Netflix is spending $10 million to $20 million on award-season promotion, though some put that figure even higher.”
The Fast Company went into detail about the efforts Netflix went into just for The Golden Globes, where Roma won Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film, including “a box of Oaxacan dark chocolates with a note signed by Yalitza Aparicio, the actress who plays the nanny Cleo in the movie…The company also sent out a glossy ‘Roma’ coffee-table book, and a Roma poster signed by Cuarón.” The report added:
“Netflix also set up a ‘Roma’ immersive experience on a Hollywood production stage; it hosted cocktail parties celebrating the film, including one led by Angelina Jolie; and it bought a slew of print, digital, and television ads, including a full two-minute ‘Roma’ spot that aired during ‘CBS Sunday Morning.’ According to one media buyer, the cost of that ad alone is about $170,000…Members of the HFPA and other journalists were also invited–as they are annually–to a Christmas party at [Netflix executive Ted] Sarandos’s manse.”
Considering the Golden Globes’ reputation as the Oscars’ less credible cousin, it’s impossible to fathom how much more Netflix will spend for the ultimate trophy of cinematic validation. However, Netflix still has an uphill battle to climb since its last few efforts to gain an Oscar statuette — Beasts of No Nation, Mudbound — had mixed results. And there’s also the fact that no foreign-language film has ever won a Best Picture Oscar, much less one in black and white. But considering Netflix’s answer seems to be to throw money at everything — they did fork over $8 billion for original content last year — this won’t be the last we’ll be hearing about the (ironically) glitzy Roma campaign.
“[Netflix] doesn’t spend a little more than everyone,” a publicist told The Fast Company. “They spend millions and millions more.”
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