With or without the Oscar, Netflix has already won that battle for Hollywood hearts and minds.

February 20, 2019 | Hollywood


Good morning. Spotted last night in Santa Monica: Snap chief Evan Spiegel attending a book event for Facebook critic-du-jour Roger McNamee, which makes sense.


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Ted Sarandos has already won


What's Next: Ted Sarandos has spent ~$30 million pushing "Roma" on Oscars voters because he believes the Best Picture award would bestow unimpeachable legitimacy on Netflix in the eyes of Hollywood — but with or without the gold statute, Sarandos has already won that battle.


• Yes, the Oscar would help Netflix silence critics who are still chafing over Silicon Valley's disruption of Hollywood. But Roma's bigger victory is that it has become so celebrated and critically acclaimed that a loss on Sunday could be interpreted not merely as a snub but as an outright injustice.


The Latest: The Hollywood trades and several big publishers released their annual "Who Will Win, Who Should Win" surveys yesterday, and the vast majority cited "Roma" as the deserving nominee.


The Hollywood Reporter: Will win: Roma; should win: Roma


Variety: Will win: Green Book; should win: Roma


Vox: Roma "deserves the honor."


CNN Entertainment: Will win: Green Book; should win: Roma.


Refinery 29: Will win: Roma; should win: Roma


Rolling Stone: "Favorite: Roma."


AP's Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle each pick "Roma" as the likely winner but say the award should go to "A Star Is Born" and "Black Panther," respectively — but even they acknowledge that "Roma" is "wonderful" (Bahr) and "a fairly astonishing movie" (Coyle).


The Big Picture: Sarandos bet on the right horse. Hollywood can gripe all it wants about his over-the-top marketing effort. At the end of the day, Netflix backed a film that deserves a "Best Picture" honor, whether it wins it or not.


• Meanwhile, those who dismiss "Roma" because of its limited theatrical release — one theater chain yesterday called it a “made-for-TV” movie — are starting to look woefully out of touch with consumer viewing habits and insensitive to the film's emotional power.


Bonus: Gold Derby odds ... Roma 4/1 ... Green Book 11/2 ... Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite 15/2 ... A Start is Born 17/2 ... Bohemian Rhapsody and Vice 19/2.


Mark Ralston/Getty

What Hollywood will be reading


Talk of Tinseltown: The Hollywood Reporter's new "Oscar Issue," which lands on doorsteps today.


The Market got a sneak preview of the most enticing headlines, which will post on THR.com later this morning:


• "The Jeff Bezos, David Pecker and Ari Emanuel Connection: 'The Elephant in the Room Is Ginormous'"


• "'Harvey Always Wanted More': Weinstein, Spielberg and the Oral History of the Nastiest Oscar Campaign Ever."


• "'Camille Paglia: Sexism and the 'Star Is Born' Films" ... in which the academic calls Bradley Cooper’s version "a misogynous disgrace."


• "The Politics of Oscar: Inside the Academy's Long, Hard Road to a Hostless Show"


Good fodder for the party circuit.

👠 Rally the Market 👠


End of an Era, via NYT: "Karl Lagerfeld, the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries and a man whose career formed the prototype of the modern luxury fashion industry, died on Tuesday in Paris."


• Look for every actress wearing Chanel on Sunday to pay her respects from the Red Carpet.


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Carsten Koall/Getty

Sundar Pichai moves on games


Big in the Valley: Sundar Pichai is planning to unveil Google's Netflix-like video game service at the Game Developer’s Conference on March 19, seeking to move ahead of his Seattle and Silicon Valley rivals in the race to capitalize on the extremely lucrative video game industry.


The Scoop, via Fortune's Chris Morris:


• "Industry insiders [say] the event will be the coming out party for Google’s entry into the video game space — and the company is spending heavily to get publishers on board."


• "The gaming unit is expected to be a Netflix-like streaming service ... Games are run on cloud servers and streamed directly to players’ PCs, tablets, TVs, or pretty much anything with a screen."


The Big Picture: Everyone is creating a "Netflix for Games."


Apple is planning a "Netflix for games." (Cheddar)

Verizon is testing a "Netflix-style cloud gaming service." (Verge)

Amazon is building a "streaming video game service." (TheInfo)


Microsoft will soon allow streaming for Xbox One. (Microsoft)


What They're After: The U.S. video game industry generated $43.4 billion in 2018 and is growing by 18% annually, per the Entertainment Software Association. More than 82% of that revenue was driven by software sales, including subscriptions.

Market Links 


Mark Zuckerberg is back in Washington D.C.'s sights (Verge)


Kristie Canegallo details Google's fight against fake news (9to5)


Susan Wojcicki wrestles with YouTube conspiracy theories (NYT)


Fred Ryan faces a $250 million defamation lawsuit (Reuters)


Jeff Zucker's Sarah Flores hire sets Twitter on fire (Mediaite)


Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Gamification of 2020


The start of the 2020 Democratic primary — Bernie Sanders is the 12th candidate to enter that race — has created a temporary cottage industry of election metricizing based on social media influence.


The Big Picture: President Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's aggressive use of social media to influence politics and policy has put a new premium on social media as a sign of power, influence and even electoral viability.


Leading the Race: Kamala Harris


• Sen. Harris is the only Democratic nominee to crack Axios' list of top 10 Twitter accounts as measured by number of interactions.


• Harris is also leading the field in Axios' list of social media interactions on articles about the Democratic candidates.


Then again ... there is that other metric known as money. Sen. Sanders reportedly raised $3.3 million from 120,000 individual donors in his first day on the campaign, more than double the $1.5 million Harris raised in her first 24 hours.


Bonus ... Treat for the Dems: Here's the full video of President Barack Obama and Steph Curry on stage in Oakland last night for the fifth anniversary of "My Brother's Keeper."


• Top talker ... Obama: "If you're confident about your sexuality, you don't have to have eight women around you twerking."

What's Next: The Real Talk of Tinseltown is former Dodger Manny Machado's $300-million deal with the San Diego Padres, which is the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports.


• Dodgers fans think he's overvalued, but 538's Travis Sawchik says the deal actually makes sense for the Padres.


See you tomorrow.


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