Apple is already set to challenge Netflix later this year when it launches Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming platform for original television series and movies, but a new report from the New York Post says Apple is also gearing up to take on Netflix in the Oscar race. Sources tell The Post that Apple has plans to produce “six small-budget movies a year with an eye toward stories that could win Academy Awards.” Apple is reportedly looking to spend $5 million to $30 million on each project.
According to The Post’s source, Apple’s Oscar season plan is independent from its multiyear agreement with A24. The two companies announced last November an agreement in which A24 would produce “multiple features for Apple over the course of several years.” The first project under the agreement is Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks,” starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. Whether or not Apple will give its A24-produced films theatrical releases remains to be seen.
Should Apple move forward with its six-film Oscar plan, it will have to release these titles in theaters for at least one week. Oscar rules mandate a one-week theatrical run in order for films to be eligible for Academy Awards. Sources tell The Post that Apple wants to release “Focus Features-esque award contenders,” referring to films such as previous Oscar winners “BlacKkKlansman,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” and “Brokeback Mountain.”
Apple is reportedly being driven to make films for Oscar season because of Netflix, which broke through at the Oscars in a big way earlier this year with “Roma.” The Alfonso Cuarón-directed drama gave Netflix its first Best Picture and Best Director nominations, and it was nominated for 10 Oscars overall (tied with “The Favourite” as the most-nominated film of 2019). “Roma” won three prizes: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Netflix is hoping to find similar success in the upcoming awards season with new projects from Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), “Mudbound” director Dee Rees (“The Last Thing He Wanted”), and Noah Baumbach (an untitled comedy-drama starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson).
Apple TV+ will be launching later this year with a handful of original series, including the Reese Witherspoon-Jennifer Aniston drama “The Morning Show.” The company’s Oscar movies are also being designed to drive subscribers to the new streaming platform.