Monday 19 February 2018

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos sets sights on Oscar win before Netflix

Spike Lee
Spike Lee

Peter Spence

Mega retailer Amazon has stepped up the competition with rival Netflix, as boss Jeff Bezos has set his sights on an Oscar for the company’s film studio.

“We want to win an Oscar,” the Amazon chief executive has told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. “Amazon has already won Golden Globes and Emmys. Our current target is to produce 16 home movies a year.”

Amazon Studios films are streamed by paying subscribers, after an accelerated cinema release. The business' closest online competitor, Netflix, also has plans to deliver critically acclaimed movies. The smaller company aims to release 10 feature films in 2016, while bypassing the traditional big screen experience entirely.

However, this direct to viewer content is no longer associated with the low quality of “straight-to-video” offerings. Beasts of No Nation, the Netflix film starring English actor Idris Elba, is a likely contender for gongs at next year’s awards.

Amazon, which is valued at around six times the size of Netflix, released its first feature film this month, gang violence satire Chi-Raq, by Oscar nominated director Spike Lee. “I want to offer masters like Spike Lee or Woody Allen a new platform,” Mr Bezos said.

To date, Amazon has won five Emmy awards for Transparent, a comedy series. Mr Bezos said that the company will “grant a lot of freedom” to the high profile names it has brought on to make content for its online platform.

However, director Woody Allen has described his decision to partner with Amazon for a six-part show as a “catastrophic mistake”, as he has struggled with the episodic format.

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