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Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza has served up a slice of history for MGM and United Artists Releasing.
On Tuesday, the film earned a place in the coveted Oscar best picture race. It’s the first time MGM will compete for the top prize for a movie it made and released since Rain Man in 1988.
MGM did have a financial stake in New Line’s Academy Award winner The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and has several victors in its library, including Dances With Wolves and The Silence of the Lambs, as the result of subsequent library acquisitions.
Licorice Pizza also marks the first best picture nomination for United Artists Releasing, a joint distribution venture operated by MGM and Annapurna.
Overall, MGM and UAR scored eight Oscar noms for Licorice Pizza, House of Gucci and No Time to Die (the latter two movies were shut out of the best picture race).
MGM wasn’t the only legacy studio to fare well on Tuesday amid competition from deep-pocketed streamers. Traditional distributors commandeered seven of the 10 best picture slots. Warner Bros. led with two for Dune and King Richard.
Universal’s Focus Features is once again a contender in the best picture race with Belfast, while Searchlight/Disney has Nightmare Alley. And 20th Century/Disney is a contender thanks to West Side Story. The critical darling Drive My Car is also up for best picture. The tiny indie film is from Sideshow and Janus Films. As with Licorice Pizza, all five films received an exclusive theatrical release, versus going straight to the home because of the pandemic.
Dune and King Richard, like all 2021 Warner titles, received a dual release in theaters and on HBO Max. The company has now ended the pandemic-inspired practice and returned to exclusive theatrical releases.
Like Warner Bros., Netflix landed two spots in the best picture category for The Power of the Dog — which rode away with the most nominations of any film (12) — and Don’t Look Up. And overall, Netflix led all of Hollywood companies with a total 27 nominations.
The Disney empire, including Searchlight, was second with 23 noms, followed by Warners with 16. Focus fared nicely with seven, while Neon nabbed six.
Apple Original Films also scored six nominations, including a first-ever best picture nod for CODA.
Below is a scorecard of films receiving multiple nominations. (The list does not include short films or documentary short subjects.)
The Power of the Dog — 12 (Netflix)
Dune — 10 (Warner Bros./Legendary)
Belfast — 7 (Focus Features)
West Side Story — 7 (20th Century/Disney)
King Richard — 6 (Warner Bros.)
Don’t Look Up — 4 (Netflix)
Drive My Car — 4 (Sideshow and Janus Films)
Nightmare Alley — 4 (Searchlight/Disney)
Being the Ricardos — 3 (Amazon Studios)
CODA — 3 (Apple Original Films)
Encanto — 3 (Disney)
Flee — 3 (Neon)
Licorice Pizza — 3 (MGM/United Artists Releasing
The Lost Daughter — 3 (Netflix)
No Time to Die — 3 (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
The Tragedy of Macbeth — 3 (Apple Original Films/A24)
Cruella — 2 (Disney)
The Eyes of Tammy Faye — 2 (Searchlight/Disney)
Parallel Mothers — 2 (Sony Pictures Classics)
Tick, Tick … Boom! — 2 (Netflix)
The Worst Person in the World — 2 (Neon)
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