Gotham Awards: Netflix’s Ted Sarandos to Receive Industry Tribute

Ted Sarandos

Sarandos on Netflix: "People get wrapped up in the cost of a show and say we pay a lot for a show. But I don't have the development infrastructure overhead, and I'm not [making] 50 or 60 pilots to do it. If you took all that money out and put it on the screen -- which is what we did with House of Cards -- then we're probably not that different."

UPDATED: The chief content officer will be honored at the Manhattan indie-film awards show on Dec. 1.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos will be honored at this year’s Gotham Independent Film Awards, it was announced on Wednesday.

The executive will be presented with this year’s industry tribute, one of four pre-announced honors handed out at the Manhattan event, set for Dec. 1 at Cipriani Wall Street.

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The Gotham Awards traditionally marks the official start of Oscar season, recognizing the best in independent film. Recent past winners have included Oscar nominees Inside Llewyn Davis, The Act of Killing, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Beginners, The Tree of Life, Winter’s Bone and The Hurt Locker.

The industry tribute is given to a career veteran who has significantly influenced the film industry.

“We are honored to present our 2014 Industry Tribute to Ted Sarandos, a visionary who is credited with reshaping how, when and where we watch entertainment,” said Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Filmmakers Project, which presents the Gotham Awards. “He saw where streaming was going long before most in our industry, and was the first to create online original programming and allow us to binge entire seasons of it to our heart's content at one go.”

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Sarandos has led content acquisition for Netflix since 2000 and has recently led the effort to develop original content for the streaming service, helping it garner 31 Emmy nominations. Netflix won its first Oscar last year for the documentary short, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, and had an additional nomination in the feature documentary race, but its The Square lost to Twenty Feet from Stardom.

Sarandos joins past industry tribute recipients including Jeff Skoll, Tom Rothman, James Schamus, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Sheila Nevins, Jonathan Sehring and last year’s winner, former NYC Mayor’s Office of Media Entertainment commissioner Katherine Oliver.

Netflix is the exclusive streaming home of films from The Weinstein Company and also streams new movies in their pay TV window from DreamWorks Animation, Paramount, Lionsgate and, starting in 2016, Disney, including subsidiaries Marvel and Pixar.

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Sarandos last year made headlines when he criticized theater owners for their hesitance to allow movies to debut day-and-date on Netflix, saying that the company may "try to release some big movies ourselves."

This year’s Gotham Awards director, actor and actress tributes have not yet been announced.

Nominees in the Gotham Awards’ competitive categories will be announced on Oct. 23.