Streaming services look to prove their worth at the Oscars

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's not just big screen blockbusters that are up for Academy Awards this year, as streaming services like Netflix hope voters find their films Oscar-worthy.

It's an irony of our age that Netflix earned the most nominations, and yet the Oscar show with an audience of almost 30 million people proves that traditional broadcast is alive and well.

Karey Burke is the head of ABC Entertainment.

"I really spent some time thinking about what does broadcast do better than anybody else?" she said. "And it really is event, live, appointment programming."

The results anticipated by so many people around the world are determined by fewer than 8,500 voters, the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who this year have been lobbied hard by Netflix.

The campaigning began last fall when "The Irishman" premiered at the New York Film Festival.

Netflix financed the expensive Martin Scorsese film when the studios balked, in a move TV and film producer Joe Pichirallo said is bid for Hollywood cred.

"It's trying to show it should be taken just as seriously as Warner Bros., Paramount, and Disney," said Pichirallo, former chair of the undergraduate film and television program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. "Part of that strategy is to win a Best Picture award."

Last year, "Roma" fell short in the top category while winning three Oscars. This year, Netflix has both "The Irishman" and "Marriage Story" nominated for Best Picture.

"To affirm that they're real, that they're not some TV entity trying to cut their way into the film business," Pichirallo said.

Don't miss the Oscars live on Sunday, Feb. 9, on ABC. Coverage begins at 4:30 ET | 3:30 CT | 1:30 PT on this ABC station.
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