Good Luck Owning a Copy of This Year’s ‘Best Picture’ Winner

Clayton Davis, Variety:

It’s been no secret that Netflix has long harbored ambitions to be the first digital video player to take home the Academy Awards’ most prestigious honor, spending lavishly to promote the likes of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” (2018), Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” (2019) and David Fincher’s “Mank” (2020). The investment has yielded lots of nominations, but has not paid off with the major recognition that Netflix was seeking. Instead, the Netflix team had to clap as Apple Original Films, one of the scores of new streaming players that have launched in recent years, got Best Picture bragging rights.


This is a legal, officially sanctioned DVD of the movie Coda, an Apple Original (Apple Inc.’s name for their exclusive original movies on the Apple TV+ streaming service). This is not just any DVD, this is a DVD from the consumer electronics company that arguably has done more to bury DVDs than any other.


The Oscars’ theatrical requirements have been an infamous bone of contention for streaming media, but industry insiders have long been able to prepare for awards season at home. Distributors seeking votes send the “screeners” you may have heard of to members of the production guilds, critic associations, academy members, etc — any organization with members voting in film awards. While the option to stream screeners now exists, DVD screeners remain a product in the industry’s lineup. Presumably, the stereotypical 85 year-old Oscar voter can’t be trusted to have good internet, and so the discs keep coming. As a member of the illuminati one of these groups, I was bemused to see that Apple’s quest for awards show clout has led to me receiving a DVD of an Apple Original in my latest screener haul. Like all Apple products, it deserves a thorough review.

As far as I can tell, this is the only legal way to own a copy of “Coda” — and, even then, recipients of this are told to destroy it after “the awards season is over”. Not just a physical copy, either; as far as I can tell, the only way to watch “Coda” is by streaming it. The TV app has a big Oscars feature section right now, which I cannot find a way to link to, and it seems that every movie can be purchased except “Coda”.

It is not an isolated case. Movies and serial productions from streaming services generally do not have physical copies, which sucks for archival purposes and, also, if you just want to watch something without dealing with software updates and server problems. But Apple has an online store that sells movies. Surely it can find a way to sell this movie — the one where the first fifteen seconds of runtime is an “Apple Original Films” logo.

Update: Depending on where you are in the world, you may find that “Coda” is only available for purchase and cannot be streamed.