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Netflix Movies Shouldn't Qualify For The Oscars, Steven Spielberg Says

The acclaimed and veteran director discusses the threat of Netflix and more in a new interview.


The medium of TV--including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon--presents a "clear and present danger" to traditional film, veteran and award-winning movie director Steven Spielberg said in a new interview. In the same interview, the director said Netflix movies should not be able to qualify for the Academy Awards. Speaking to ITV News, Spielberg said TV today is better than it's ever been in terms of writing, performance, and directing, and this is a threat to the film business. Competition of course is nothing new, but what's different today according to Spielberg is that companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are picking up some of the smaller films that might not be guaranteed hits at the box office.

"We are accustomed to being highly competitive with television," he said. "The difference today is a lot of studios would rather make branded, tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded, successful movies than take chances on smaller films. Those smaller films, which studios used to make routinely, are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix."

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Spielberg's Oscar-nominated The Post is an example of a "smaller" film, but the director said he still wanted to make it because it was a passion project of sorts. Not only that, but any project with Spielberg's name attached is sure to get a lot of attention and awareness. "I'll still make The Post, asking [the audience] to please go out and see The Post and not make it directly for Netflix," he said.

Spielberg is of course in a unique position. He is one of the biggest and most respected names in Hollywood and presumably does not need to worry about financing and can release his movies wherever he wants. The same cannot be said for everyone.

Some movies that air on services like Netflix and Amazon have limited theatrical runs so they can qualify for the Academy Awards. Spielberg took a hard line against this, saying that this loophole should be closed.

"Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie," he said. "You certainly--if it's a good show, you deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar. I don't believe that films that just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."

As Entertainment Weekly reminds us, the official Academy rules state that feature-length movies need to be shown in Los Angeles county for seven straight days to be considered.

Netflix's drama Mudbound earned multiple Oscar nominations this year, while the Russian doping documentary Icarus won the Best Documentary Oscar this year.

Spielberg has been nominated for 17 Oscars, winning three; he is a member of the Academy's board of governors. His next movie, Ready Player One, opens in the US on March 29.

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