So, this is happening, isn’t it. Apple is really going to beat Netflix and Amazon to the Oscar. Maybe? Probably? Definitely? CODA, the deaf family drama that rivals dismissed as a Hallmark movie—and a remake of a Hallmark movie, no less—seems, with each guild win and momentum marker, to be the favorite to win best picture on Sunday. Vegas still has CODA as virtually dead even with The Power of the Dog, and Belfast could be a late spoiler, but at least around L.A., the race doesn’t feel that close. It feels like it’s over.
Apple C.E.O. Tim Cook will attend the show on Sunday, I’m told, and if he walks out of the Dolby Theater with the top prize, he will have triumphed just two and a half years after formally entering the film and TV business. Two and a half years. Netflix and Amazon, after more than a decade of original content, and five years of aggressively throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at lavish campaigns, will have been outplayed by their richer tech rival. This isn’t exactly inventing the Macintosh or iPhone, but for a consumer products company that has always positioned itself as creative rather than utilitarian, reaching the apex of Hollywood would be a triumph. Even Steve Jobs would be mildly impressed.
Sure, but Apple is worth nearly $3 trillion these days, more than a dozen Netflixes, so it just bought the Oscar it coveted. Not really. People who follow Apple for its hardware might not realize that’s not quite how it works. If it was, Jeff Bezos would have simply delivered an oversized novelty check on behalf of Manchester By the Sea, and Ted Sarandos would display about five best picture Oscars in his L.A. lobby, not that smattering of lesser trophies.