Netflix Responds to Spielberg Over Oscars

Streaming service hits back after director suggests change to Academy Awards
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2019 11:40 AM CST
Netflix Responds to Spielberg Over Oscars
Steven Spielberg poses at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Steven Spielberg made waves last week with the news that he will be advocating for a big change to the Academy Awards: The director doesn't want Netflix films (or any films that debut on streaming services, rather than in theaters) eligible for Oscars. The news comes on the heels of the Netflix film Roma winning three Academy Awards, though it lost out on Best Picture. Spielberg, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' board of governors, thinks such films should be eligible for Emmys instead, even if they have a limited theatrical run first before premiering on the streaming service, as Roma did. But on Sunday night, Netflix hit back on Twitter, though it didn't actually use Spielberg's name, Variety reports. "We love cinema," says the tweet, but "we also love .. access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theaters."

IndieWire explains why studios are upset Roma came so close to winning the Oscars' top prize, including the massive sums Netflix spent on its Oscars campaign and the fact that Netflix does not report box office numbers or adhere to the traditional 90-day theatrical window. But none of those complaints are clear violations of Academy standards, and any rule change that attempts to address those complaints could end up impacting other films as well, particularly independent and foreign language movies. And, of course, the news comes as other companies including Disney, WarnerMedia, Comcast, AT&T, and Apple have streaming platforms in the works. Deadline notes that some big Hollywood names have publicly spoken out against Spielberg's idea. (Last year, Spielberg was decidedly not in favor of another proposed Oscars change.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.