Why it matters: The millions of dollars Netflix spends on original content has yielded several Oscar nominations over the years, but not everyone is happy about it. Legendary director Steven Spielberg has spoken out against the site in the past, arguing that it shouldn’t be eligible for the industry’s top awards. Now, he’s trying to get Netflix and other streaming services banned from the Oscars.
Spielberg last year said that Netflix films are simply TV movies, meaning they should contend for Emmy awards rather than Oscars. “I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination,” he said at the time.
It appears that the Schindler's List director has a plan to make his wish come true. IndieWire reports that Spielberg will propose rule changes at the Academy's Board of Governors meeting in April, which would ensure the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu aren’t eligible for Oscar contention.
“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” said an Amblin spokesperson. “He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”
Netflix’s Roma had the equal-highest number of nominations (ten) at the recent Academy Awards. It won three Oscars and some believe it should have beaten Green Book in the coveted Best Picture category. But critics have complained about Roma’s huge marketing budget, limited theatrical release window, and the fact Netflix doesn’t report box office earnings.
Dear @TheAcademy, This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there. But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently. Thanks, Ava DuVernay. https://t.co/DFBLVWhiJj— Ava DuVernay (@ava) 1 March 2019
Many within the industry aren’t happy at the potential rule change. Not only could it see great films made by streaming services missing out on accolades, but it could also hurt smaller, independent movies.
It isn’t even about Netflix, though they’re the most visible and least sympathetic target. It’s about every other film and filmmaker who will struggle to get access to the resources necessary to make a film but not get those allowing for a four week exclusive theatrical release. https://t.co/qW4uwbaQ2j— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) 2 March 2019
Netflix gave an indirect response to Spielberg via a tweet, which lists some of the things it loves.
We love cinema. Here are some things we also love:— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) 4 March 2019
-Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theaters
-Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time
-Giving filmmakers more ways to share art
These things are not mutually exclusive.
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