Netflix Responds to Spielberg's Oscar Comments

Should the Academy just Netflix and Chill?

by Andy Bassett Mar 4, 2019 at 11:29 AM


  • Movies & TV News

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    Netflix Responds to Spielberg's Oscar Comments
    With Roma’s recent Oscar success the changing nature of cinema has elicited concern from Hollywood’s elite. So, after Steven Spielberg’s recent comments, Netflix have seemingly responded.
    “We love cinema” Netflix stated in a tweet today, which then goes on to explain that part of their love for the medium includes:
    • Wanting access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theatres
    • Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time
    • Giving filmmakers more ways to share art
    Although not quite making history with Roma, it was beaten to the Best Picture gong by Green Book, Netflix’s acclaimed film came close enough with 3 wins to indicate that the Oscars might never be the same again and that Netflix had planted a flag in hallowed Hollywood turf and was staking a claim.

    This appears to have concerned Mr Spielberg, who is the Academy Governor of the director’s branch, to the point that he is planning to raise his feelings at the next Governor’s meeting in a bid to gain support for his campaign to clearly differentiate between streaming and theatrical eligibility for award inclusion.

    Last year he proposed that Netflix films should complete in the Emmys, the TV equivalent of the Oscars, since the streaming service’s releases were essentially TV movies.

    Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” he told ITV News in March 2018. “I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”

    True, Roma only played in theatres for a limited period specifically so it could qualify for inclusion at the Oscars but Netflix is hardly the first company to have used this approach to garner nominations, many independent films take this approach too, so a change here would have implications far wider than just limiting Netflix.

    Amongst those coming out in support of Netflix was Bruce Campbell who praised Roma stating ”Roma ain’t no TV movie - it’s as impressive as anything out there. Platforms have become irrelevant.”

    Director Ava DuVernay, also supported Netflix when she tweeted that the only film of hers that had received a wide international distribution was the documentary she had made with them, 13th, rather than her higher profile Hollywood films, Selma and A Wrinkle in Time.

    Steven Spielberg is one of modern cinema’s greats and commands huge respect from the industry and audiences alike but has he got this wrong? Should movies have a longer theatrical run to become eligible for Oscar consideration or does that limit the inclusion of smaller films such as 2017’s Best Picture winner, Moonlight?

    Let us know what you think in the discussion thread.

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