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Skip the Oscars This Year and Stream Some Movies Instead

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Let's face it, this wasn't a strong year for movies. 2018 had the usual summer blockbusters, but when October rolled around and we looked for those Oscar-bait studio prestige movies, they didn't show up.

Now we're a few days away from the Academy Awards, and it's not clear what we're supposed to be celebrating. The few good films and touching performance that snuck by felt like flukes.

We were disappointed by theater selections in 2018, but thrilled by what we could stream at home. To prove that point, the American Customer Satisfaction Index just released its 2019 data on streaming options. It surveyed viewers about their happiness with original programming on several services. Netflix scored highest with an 81 out of 100, improving its 2018 score by 2 points. It was followed by HBO (79), Amazon (76), and Hulu (75). See the charts below for more.

Netflix's success doesn't just come from creating audience-pleasing shows and movies. It also comes from recommending the right originals to the right people. Netflix never recommends kids' programs to me because it knows I don't watch those shows, but it's pretty sure I'll stream The Umbrella Academy before too long. And it's right.

Last month I wrote a column about the Streaming Observer's study showing that Netflix doesn't have a lot of quality movies on its site. It sure doesn't. If you're into classic or art house, look somewhere else. But Netflix has fun movies that are just right for couch viewing. Look at all the buzz it got for Bird Box and Velvet Buzzsaw.

The truth is we're going through a cultural shift and we're not sure how to deal with it. Streamed short-season originals are the dominant art form of our time, taking over from movies, but we don't' know how to celebrate them. It's complicated: Sometimes we like quality and sometimes we like fun junk. Sure, there are Emmy awards for TV, but they're too broad and they don't capture what we like about our online shows.

So we're stuck with the Oscars which this year lack not only strong contenders but a host, as well. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict low ratings. We'll watch the highlights on YouTube Monday morning. But Sunday night we'll be streaming shows we actually like from Netflix, HBO, Amazon, and Hulu instead.

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