Manchester by the Sea, one of Amazon Studios’ first Academy Award-winning films, is coming to Prime Video this Friday. In celebration, Amazon is giving the residents of the real Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, a free year of Amazon Prime and some popcorn.
Amazon’s first year at the Oscars was an important one for the platform, so the celebration isn’t as random as it might seem. Manchester by the Sea was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won the award for Best Original Screenplay this year. Its star, Casey Affleck, won the award for Best Actor (despite a prolonged internet backlash against his nomination). Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, also produced by Amazon Studios, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
These awards give Amazon a significant leg up over Netflix, its main competitor in the streaming wars, and the original content powerhouse to beat. Several Netflix documentary features — including Ava DuVernay’s 13th and Liz Garbus’ What Happened, Miss Simone? — have been nominated for Academy Awards, but none have won, and the platform has yet to receive a Best Picture nod. Its first Oscar win was this year in the documentary short subject category, for Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara’s White Helmets.
Manchester by the Sea, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, is about unspeakably terrible things happening to a man played by Affleck, in effect ruining his life. To top it off, beloved Emmy-winning Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler appears only in flashback, as he is dead for most of the movie. Any Manchester-by-the-Sea Manchester by the Sea viewing parties seem like they would be incredibly depressing, especially considering that the tragic events at the movie’s center are set off by a group of pals indulging in a drinking game. It would be hard to lighten the mood with shots, but maybe the fact that no one in the room pays for Amazon shipping anymore would do it.
The popcorn and free Prime code will arrive in a gift box mailed to each home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and though it would be sort of a stretch to call this a family film I suppose people have been burnt to death by lava in Disney movies.
The population of Manchester-by-the-Sea was 5,136 at the last census, divided into 2,147 households. It’s a cool day for them, if they generally order lots of books and household items off the internet.