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Online retailer Amazon.com announced in 2010 that it would start providing original television shows and movies. Thus, Amazon Studios was born, with their content distributed through Prime Video.

Amazon Studios existed in its earliest form as Amazon Unbox, which later became Prime Video. Like competitor Netflix, they began producing their own original content in 2013, with Prime serving as the distribution service for works created by Amazon Studios.

Though their focus was originally on episodic television, Amazon began producing and co-distributing films in 2015, with Spike Lee's Chi-Raq —co-distributed by Roadside Attractions— serving as their inaugural release. But unlike Netflix, which (with some exceptions) exclusively screens their own original movies on the service itself, films produced by Amazon Studios were typically first distributed in theaters, and later made available on Prime Video. This makes them eligible for contention by major awards organizations, which Netflix has since (partly) adopted to make their own productions award contenders.

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The biggest beneficiary of this model to date is perhaps 2016's Manchester by the Sea, which won star Casey Affleck over 40 acting accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, as well Best Original Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan. As well, The Salesman, with Cohen Media Group, went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2017.

In 2017, Amazon began distributing many of its productions on its own, beginning with Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel. However, this resulted in a string of box office failures that led the company to begin adopting Netflix's streaming-first model more frequently. With the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Amazon Studios has shifted almost entirely to a digital strategy, even picking up intended-for-theatrical films from other studios such as Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Coming 2 America - the former of which became their first film (and the first streaming original film) to win a Best Picture Golden Globe Award.

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Films produced by Amazon Studios


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