Usually we can go into Oscars season having a sense of how many people watched the best picture nominees. That’s more complicated this year, as two of the films were released by Netflix. So while “Marriage Story” did play in theaters, many more may have watched it on the streaming platform, which is notoriously opaque about its streaming data.
Total nominations: Six, including for best actor, actress, supporting actress, original score and original screenplay.
Synopsis: A New York couple — playwright Charlie and actress Nicole — go through separation and divorce while navigating how their family can find a path forward. Nicole wants to move with their son back to Los Angeles, where she is from and has greater career prospects, while Charlie confronts the reality that their marriage is over.
Directed by: Noah Baumbach, who also wrote the screenplay.
Starring: Adam Driver as Charlie, Scarlett Johansson as Nicole and Laura Dern in a supporting role as divorce attorney Nora Fanshaw.
Why it could win: Critics loved “Marriage Story,” hailing it as a moving drama that, according to Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, is also an “observant, compassionate film, full of deep feeling and tenderness.” The acting in particular has received plenty of acclaim; the film’s two leads have received several nominations at various award shows for their respective roles. And Dern is already considered the main contender for best supporting actress.
The theme of divorce is about as universal as it gets, given the country’s divorce rate, and the stars at the center of the film certainly don’t hurt its chances.
Why it couldn’t win: Sorry, “Marriage Story” fans, but with “1917,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Parasite” in the running, Baumbach’s feature isn’t considered a front-runner.
Despite all the hype around “Roma” last year, Netflix has not yet won a best picture, and it’s unlikely that an intimate film like this will be the one to do it.
While “Marriage Story” has received plenty of nominations at other award ceremonies, it hasn’t picked up many prizes for overall best picture. (The World War I saga “1917” won best drama at the Golden Globes.)