SherrybabySifting through the list of Golden Globe nominations today, I noticed that Maggie Gyllenhaal received a Best Actress nomination for Sherrybaby. The film premiered at Sundance nearly a year ago -- Kim Voynar not only reviewed the film, but also reported on a Q&A with the filmmakers. The indie drama landed a distribution deal in May, which made headlines because Netflix acquired both theatrical and DVD rights, with IFC managing the theatrical release. When most of us think of "theatrical distributors," we don't usually think of Netflix -- the company is associated more with DVD rentals. However, Netflix has been very successful in raising awareness of indie films on DVD, such as Born Into Brothels, so the company is branching out into theatrical releases and even producing original films under its Red Envelope Entertainment label. Netflix/Red Envelope has released several independently made films, such as Sherrybaby and The Puffy Chair, in a limited number of theaters this year.

Sherrybaby has become one of the highest-profile and most acclaimed movies distributed by Netflix, winning best picture and best actress awards for Gyllenhaal both at the Karlovy Vary film festival and the Stockholm film festival this year. The movie appeared in theaters in September, and will be released on DVD on January 23. Now that Gyllenhaal's Golden Globe nomination will raise general awareness of Sherrybaby even more, this can only be good for Netflix -- both in terms of DVD rentals of the film, and in raising its prestige as a theatrical distributor. (I just saved the movie to my own Netflix queue -- the nomination was a great reminder.) And if the Golden Globes truly do foreshadow the Oscar nominations, Netflix could become an even larger force in indie-film distribution.