“Beasts of No Nation” was truly a beast at the Indie Spirit Awards when nominations were announced. It scored five bids, making it the second most recognized film, behind only “Carol” with six. That’s more nominations than the current Oscar frontrunner, “Spotlight,” which contends for four. Does that mean “Beasts” might be stronger than we’re anticipating at the Oscars?
At the Indie Spirts, “Beasts” contends for Best Feature, Best Director (Cary Joji Fukunaga), Best Actor (Abraham Attah), Best Supporting Actor (Idris Elba) and Best Cinematography. It earned that Best Feature bid over another high profile film, “Room,” which is a more likely Best Picture nominee at the Oscars according to our racetrack odds.
So is it just the independent film community that admires “Beasts of No Nation,” or could there be a larger groundswell of support for the film that we’re only now starting to see?
This is where the Netflix factor might come in. After the minimal box office take from its limited theatrical release, the film was at risk of being perceived as a commercial disappointment. Then Netflix announced that no, “Beasts of No Nation” wasn’t a flop. It was streamed by three million people online in just 10 days. Netflix hasn’t released any viewership figures since, so it’s possible the film has been stealthily gathering steam, an under-the-radar blockbuster relative to its competition.
So while we’re busy tracking the box office performance of its Oscar rivals, “Beasts of No Nation” could be drinking their milkshake by reaching viewers at home, and that may include awards voters. Academy members were also sent screeners of the film on November 20, so the film is reaching them on all fronts.
We’ll find out in the coming days and weeks whether “Beasts of No Nation” continues its awards romp. In the meantime, do you think it will win Best Feature at the Spirit Awards?
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Photo: “Beast of No Nation.” Credit: Netflix