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Oscars: Searchlight Propels Disney to Top of Nominations Scorecard Ahead of Universal, Netflix

Searchlight, home of numerous Oscar best-picture winners, propelled Disney’s film empire to the top of this year’s studios scorecard of most Oscar nominations.

Disney walked away with 20 nominations Tuesday morning for movies from its myriad film stables. Searchlight accounted for 13 of those, including 11 for Poor Things. The Yorgos Lanthimos-directed movie landed a spot in numerous top categories, including best picture, best director and best actress (Emma Stone). Among Disney’s other noms, Pixar’s Elemental is up for best animated feature, while National Geographic Films landed a spot in the best documentary feature category for Bobi Wine: The People’s President.

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In recent years, streamers — i.e., Netflix — often bested the legacy Hollywood studios and top indie distributors in terms of nominations. This year, like last, saw a more even playing field. Netflix took home 18 Oscar nominations Tuesday to tie with Universal’s film empire, which includes Focus Features.

Universal Pictures proper earned 13 nominations, which all went to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the most of any film this year (Poor Things is second). Oppenheimer — which is vying in virtually every top category — also becomes the most nominated film in the studio’s history. Focus took home five noms, all for dramedy The Holdovers.

Netflix’s trove of 18 noms included five for Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, another best picture contender. While Cooper was shut out of the director’s race, he’s up for best actor, while co-star Carey Mulligan was nominated for best actress. The streamer’s total count was up from last year’s 15, but well behind the near-record 35 nominations it earned in 2021 for its 2020 films, including Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The year before, Netflix nabbed 24 noms, including for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. This time around, Scorsese assisted Apple Original Films score a best-ever 13 nominations, including 10 for the filmmaker’s historic crime epic Killers of the Flower Moon. The three hour and 26-minute film is up for best picture, while Lily Gladstone is a frontrunner for best actress (Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t make the cut for best actor, however). Apple’s three other nominations went to Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. fared well with nine nominations, eight of which went to the summer box office blockbuster Barbie. While the movie is up for best picture and several other top categories, director Greta Gerwig was snubbed, as was lead actress Margot Robbie.

In addition to becoming the most successful film in Warners’ history with more than $1.4 billion in global ticket sales, Barbie powered what quickly became dubbed the Barbenheimer phenomenon. The female-fueled pic opened opposite Oppenheimer in late July, and many box office analysts attribute Oppenheimer’s oversized success — it earned nearly $960 million worldwide — at least in part to Barbie‘s ability to lure moviegoers back to the multiplex in droves.

The fact that Barbie — the top-grossing film of 2023 both domestically and worldwide — and Oppenheimer — the third top-grossing pic of 2023 globally — are competing for best picture could help ratings when the Oscars air on ABC March 10.

Indie distributors A24 and Neon, both Oscar darlings, tied this year with seven nominations each.

A24’s noms were split between Zone of Interest and Past Lives, both of which are up for best picture (it’s the first time the outfit has had two best picture contenders). Last year, A24 dazzled with 18 nominations before winning best picture for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Neon’s count is led by five noms for Anatomy of a Fall, which is also in the best picture contest. In 2020, Neon made history when nabbing best picture for Parasite.

Amazon MGM studios scored five noms, including its third best picture nomination in a row for American Fiction.

Below is a breakdown of nominations by studio/distributor:

Disney/Searchlight — 20

Netflix — 18

Universal/Focus — 18

Apple Original Films — 13

Warner Bros. — 9

A24 — 7

Neon — 7

Amazon MGM Studios — 5

Miyu Distribution — 2

MTV Documentary Films — 2

The New Yorker — 2

Paramount — 2

Bleecker Street — 1

DOCUMENTARY+ — 1

GKIDS — 1

h264 Distribution — 1

Kino Lorber — 1

L.A. Times Studios — 1

New York Times Op-Docs — 1

PBS Distribution — 1

Sony Pictures Classics — 1

Sony Pictures Releasing — 1

Toho International — 1

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