For some, it's been a question of whether the film academy had an anti-Netflix bias. The film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Dee Rees and Virgil Williams).
As she built her career in film, working on shorts, documentaries and television shows, Morrison found inspiration in the photographs of Gordon Parks and the films of legendary DPs like Gordon Willis (The Godfather), Harris Savides (Zodiac) and Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love).
It is a mathematical impossibility for a group of Oscar nominations to please everyone, but this year came pretty close with meaningful love for "Get Out", "Lady Bird" and "Phantom Thread", and the history-making nomination of "Mudbound" director of photography Rachel Morrison, who became the first woman to ever be nominated for cinematography. The statistics are grim for female cinematographers in the industry.
Mudbound, which Netflix bought out of the Sundance Film Festival previous year, was a film that other distributors passed on, due to its lengthy run time (2 hours and 15 min) and tough subject matter.
Less than one month into 2018, and it appears to be a milestone year for Mary J. Blige.
She will compete against British cinematographer Roger Deakins, who received his 14th nod for his work on Blade Runner 2049. Each film brought something unique to filmmaking. The other nominees were "Blade Runner 2049" (split primarily between MPC and Double Negative); "War for the Planet of the Apes" (led by Weta Digital's four-time Oscar victor Joe Letteri and Oscar victor Dan Lemmon for "The Jungle Book"); "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (led by ILM's Ben Morris); and Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (which included Weta's Guy Williams). If there's one genre that increasingly need not apply, it's the special-effects-driven blockbuster, with "Wonder Woman" - the best-regarded entry in that pack - overlooked. It was also a major dud in China, a second major market that has saved films like 2017's The Mummy.
RBC analyst Mark Mahaney spoke to Business Insider about how Oscar hauls will help Netflix, but "may not be critical" for its success moving forward. "But of course, the D.P.in me wanted to make sure people had a chance to see it on the big screen". It's a tough race with potentially historic cultural implications between two artists who are both deserving of a win here.