Steven Spielberg has made his voice heard on a divisive topic that has been circulating throughout the film industry lately. Are Netflix Original Films as important as traditional films that appear in theaters? Specifically: should Netflix originals be eligible for Oscars? The renowned filmmaker says absolutely not.
During an interview ITV News about his new film Ready Player One, Spielberg explained that he believes Netflix films should compete at the Emmys with other television movies, and that they have no place at the Oscars. He holds this to be true regardless of whether or not the Netflix Original has followed the rules necessary to become eligible for an Oscar.
“I don’t believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nominations,” Spielberg said. The requirements for being eligible demand that a film has “a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily.” Films such as Beasts of No Nation and Mudbound have met these qualifications, and the latter, although it won no awards, did in fact receive four nominations.
One reason for Spielberg’s disapproval is that it is far easier to get a film made with Netflix and then foist it into theaters afterwards than it is to get a film into theaters through the traditional route.
“Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money, or to compete at Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically. And more of them are going to let the [streaming video on-demand] businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight, one-week theatrical window to qualify for awards. But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”
For this reason, Spielberg says let Netflix Originals have their Emmys, but not Oscars.
Check out the interview below: