November 19, 2019 5:36 pm

Netflix’s “The Irishman” a legit Best Picture Oscar contender

Netflix’s “The Irishman” a legit Best Picture Oscar contender

The final trailer for The Irishman dropped Tuesday, and it confirmed the Netflix-backed project as a surefire Best Picture contender at the Oscars.

Many thought last year’s entry from the streamer, Roma, would take home Best Picture honors. Instead, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed, black-and-white instant classic earned Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film.

Could The Irishman be the one to dazzle the Academy and make history as the first streamer-supported project to take home Best Picture honors? Let’s look at the factors at play.

Checking all surface-level prestige boxes


A three-and-a-half-hour run time? Check. A cast full of legendary actors? Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. That’s a bingo.

One of the most celebrated film directors of all-time, who wasn’t nominated for his last film? Martin Scorsese, after a slight snub for his long-gestating project Silence, is due to return to the Academy Awards circuit in a big way.

A period piece centered around an historical figure? Pacino is playing Jimmy Hoffa, so check on that as well.

Rave reviews from critics? The Irishman has a Certified Fresh 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 88 percent audience score, which means Netflix will have a wide audience for its Best Picture contender despite a limited theatrical release.


But this is all window dressing in a way. What about the substance of the film? Well, it has all the ingredients for an Oscar darling.

Groundbreaking technical achievement

To even tell a cohesive story over three and a half hours is impressive enough. The reviews suggest that everything adds up, and the performances are all as great as you’d hope.

Not only is that technically hard to do and demanding of all the creative talent involved, but there were also revolutionary measures taken to execute this movie to its fullest.

De Niro, Pacino and Pesci all submitted to de-aging technology so this tremendous story could span decades. Just look at the trailer that dropped today again. It’s pretty obvious Scorsese and Co. pulled this off to perfection.


A passionate master craftsman of pure cinema at the top of his game. That summarizes Scorsese, yet he’s not averse to innovating and integrating modern technology to further his creative grasp.

Even at age 77, Scorsese — along with his elder cast of legends — is showing he still has plenty left in the tank.

A watershed, redemptive moment: Streamer wins Best Picture

Much controversy has swirled around streamers being a part of the awards season discourse. Perhaps the loudest voice in opposition was Steven Spielberg.

Although Spielberg eventually backed off his initial take that Netflix films don’t belong at the Oscars, he did imply there should be separation there.

The Academy hasn’t been the most inclusive and progressive bunch over the years. Lack of diversity in both creative nominations and rewarded storytelling have been criticisms, yet that’s slowly beginning to change.

Scorsese is an Oscar darling, and De Niro, Pacino and Pesci have all taken home golden statues for their acting work in the past. The Irishman could well see Netflix become the first streamer to win Best Picture.

Maybe the Academy would be a little less reticent to endow a streamer with such a prestigious accolade since Scorsese and his phenomenal creative team are the forces behind this crime epic.

Prior to The Irishman‘s November 27 release date on Netflix, refresh your mind on Scorsese’s filmography with the filmmaker’s best movies available to stream this month.

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