Netflix Enters Race for Oscars

Netflix disrupted the TV industry this year and made history at the Emmy Awards for its original programming. Now, the streaming service is lining up content and making bold statements to enter the Academy Awards race for those coveted Oscar statuettes.

Netflix has acquired two documentary films that have found critical success on the film festival circuit. The company revealed Tuesday that The Short Game, which follows eight 7-year-old golfers on their journeys toward the World Championships of Junior Golf, would start streaming Dec. 12, becoming Netflix’s first original documentary.

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Meanwhile, Netflix reportedly also acquired The Square, a documentary about the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of activists, the L.A. Times reported Monday.

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Both original documentaries have had limited theatrical releases and would both be eligible for Oscar nominations. The 86th Academy Awards will air March 2, 2014.

The acquisitions come just days after Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said theater owners were hindering innovation in the industry. Sarandos went so far as to say he’d like to see “big” films stream on Netflix on the same day they are released in theaters.

“As a filmmaker, you hope your work will reach as many people as possible and that’s what’s so exciting about partnering with Netflix, who are presenting some of the most original and cutting edge programming on the planet right now,” The Short Game director Josh Greenbaum said in a statement.

“The idea of people all across the world being able to watch the film is a dream come true.”

If one of these Netflix original documentaries earns Oscar nominations, it would be the second year an online entity has made a major splash at the Academy Awards, Last year, aKickstarter-funded film, Inocente, won the award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). In total, six Kickstarter-backed films have been nominated.

In September, Netflix’s original political thriller House of Cards became the first web-only show to win an award at any Primetime Emmys after winning Outstanding Directing for a Drama. Netflix was in the running in 14 Emmy categories for House of CardsArrested Development and supernatural thriller Hemlock Grove.