'Arrival' and Amazon's 'Manchester By the Sea' lead Oscar nominations

Roadside Attractions  Courtesy Everett Collection

The Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams-starrer was acquired by Amazon at Sundance past year, in a deal that saw Amazon Studios pay $10 million for the rights to the picture. All of the films it backs get theatrical releases.

Michelle also admitted to being surprised by the success of the Kenneth Lonergan-directed movie, which tells the story of an uncle who looks after his teenage nephew after his father dies. In its history, Netflix has been nominated for five Oscars, all in the Best Documentary category (including this year's nod for Ava Duvernay's 13th). Netflix barely released Beasts of No Nation into theaters, where it made under $100,000.

Netflix can pay him millions to churn out one stinker after another, meanwhile, Amazon is polishing their Oscars.

Williams received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her performance in the movie.

"This is how you generate more subscribers, you make your distribution channel a "must have" and people will be knocking down your door to sign up", Dergarabedian said. So far, the streaming service has made several purchases at this year's Sundance, including spending $3 million on comedy The Incredible Jessica James, which it plans to release in a traditional matter. It's more surprising, in many ways, that Amazon committed its full Sundance slate previous year to theaters than it is that Netflix put its priciest pick-up, The Fundamentals of Caring, directly online.

For Amazon, the many nods are likely validation and encouragement to continue its Hollywood aspirations. A theatrical release may cannibalize some of its streaming audience, but not enough to matter in the long run.

Hedges told Entertainment Weekly that he was so nervous about the early-morning announcement that he tried to sleep through it, which is why he was in bed when he got a phone call with news of his nomination for Best Supporting Actor. With the nod, the streaming service became the first of its rivals, including streaming giant Netflix, to be in the running for Best Picture.

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