Why Apple Was The Real Oscars Winner This Year

The Academy Awards was surprising for more reasons than one. Not only do we have the newly-christened "slap heard 'round the world," but some of last night's winners were a surprise, as well. Case in point? Apple with its movie "CODA," which wound up winning the coveted Best Picture award. In addition to Best Picture, "CODA" also won Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Siân Heder).

As Apple notes in an announcement today, "CODA" and its big wins mark the first time a movie with a predominately deaf cast has won Best Picture. In addition, Troy Kotsur is the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar. This is the first Academy Award win for Heder, as well, so it was certainly a night of "firsts" as far as the Academy Awards is concerned. However, for the entertainment world, the other first of the night might be the most intriguing — or, at least, the one with the most implications for the industry moving forward.

Apple wins a coveted prize

This Best Picture win for "CODA" also marks the first time a streaming service has captured the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards. This isn't the first time a streaming service has won an Academy Award, mind, as other services like Netflix have won Oscars in different categories before, nor is it the first time a movie made by a streaming service has been nominated for Best Picture. The first Best Picture win for a streaming service is all Apple's, however.

The big question now is whether this will legitimize streaming services in the eyes of traditional film adherents or galvanize them further against the big industry change. A few years ago, the question of whether streaming services should be able to submit their films for Oscar consideration was a hot topic in Hollywood, with the iconic director Steven Spielberg perhaps the most vocal in his opposition to the idea

In the end, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided that streaming services like Netflix could continue to submit their films for Academy Award consideration as long as they played at least a seven-day run in a Los Angeles theater, otherwise known as "Rule Two," according to The Verge.

That decision seems to have paved the way for Apple's win with "CODA" at the 94th Academy Awards this year. Now that Apple TV+ has become the first streaming service to win a Best Picture Academy Award, will this open the floodgates and make it easier for other streaming services to win the same award in the future? Time will tell.