After a long dry spell, legacy studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM, has finally appeared on the Oscar’s best picture nomination list with Paul Thomas Anderson’s ninth feature film Licorice Pizza. The film is a coming-of-age dramedy set in the ’70s about a 15-year-old boy with an entrepreneurial spirit attempting to win the attention of a 25-year-old woman.
The last time MGM competed for the top prize was in 1988 with Barry Levinson’s Rain Man, the Tom Cruise-Dustin Hoffman-led road drama. This is also the first Best Picture nomination for the joint distribution venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures, United Artist Releasing. MGM and UAR collected eight Oscar nominations for Licorice Pizza, House of Gucci, and No Time to Die.
Overall this was a great year for legacy studios as they hold seven out of ten Best Picture slots. Warner Bros. leads with two for Dune and King Richard. Focus Features has Belfast, while Searchlight/Disney has Nightmare Alley. Lastly, 20th Century/Disney has West Side Story.
As far as the new Hollywood studios go, Apple Original Films secured a first-ever Best Picture nomination this year with CODA. Netflix leads all with a total of 27 nominations, including two best picture slots with The Power of the Dog and Don’t Look Up.
With the advent of streamers joining the Best Picture race year after year, it will continue to be a challenge for old legacy studios like MGM to place on the Best Picture category. Rain Man came away with Best Picture in 1988. Time will tell if Licorice Pizza will have that same outcome.