Director Steven Spielberg is set to make an argument at the upcoming Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in opposition of Netflix being considered for Oscars.
While Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma did not win the Oscar for Best Picture it certainly proved that the Netflix exclusive film was rather polarizing to more conservative elements within the Hollywood establishment, who view it as a call to action. The leader of this charge against Netflix’s entry into the world of cinema that will be veteran director, Steven Spielberg.
According to a report from IndieWire, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is set to review its stance on films from streaming services, which Spielberg has been an outspoken critic of for some time.
Early last year the acclaimed director suggested that the streaming platform should compete for the Emmy’s, instead of Oscars. The IndieWire report suggests that this an argument he is set to reiterate at the upcoming AMPAS Board of Governors meeting this April.
An Amblin Entertainment spokesperson recently explained the basis behind Spielberg’s opposition to Netflix being considered for the Oscars.
“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation. 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.”
AMPAS confirmed that discussions are ongoing between the various branches and the Board would likely consider a change in the rules at the April meeting, but that it is not set in stone until that time.
The ongoing debate about whether Netflix’s in-house productions should be considered for the Oscars began during the Cannes Film Festival last May. Much of this debate is influenced by how individuals perceive a film, the “theater experience”, and the three-month exclusivity window that exhibitors demand to protect their business.
However, it is not likely that the in-house Netflix productions would all be successful at the box office. Roma in particular would be a hard sell for general audiences. It is a black-and-white foreign language film with no big names attached to it that follows a nanny and house keeper that almost certainly flew under the radar for most people who are not active cinephiles. Despite this Netflix was still able to secure a 600-screen theatrical release for the Cuaron-directed picture while also making it available for streaming in nearly 200 countries.
With this in mind it is difficult to understand how it is less than a movie according to the opposition, but it is an understanding that Spielberg hopes to convey. If these more rigid rules are applied to discriminate against streaming service films then it could also possibly shut out indie films and production from big names like Martin Scorsese who is set to release his upcoming gangster film, The Irishman, on Netflix this year.
Whatever the case may be, this upcoming April meeting is going to be something to watch closely. Hopefully, AMPAS and its Board of Governors is able to reach an amicable compromise surrounding this controversial issue. Stay tuned for further updates!
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