Five-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg is now campaigning to prevent Netflix Originals from being eligible for future Academy Awards, a move fellow filmmaker Ava DuVernay vehemently opposes.
When accepting the Filmmaker Award at the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards, Spielberg took a not-so-subtle dig at streaming services, equating their projects to “TV movies.” He also doesn’t believe films that only play in theaters to qualify for award season should be eligible for Oscar recognition.
“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,” the Jurassic Park director said, according to CoS. “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 SVOD [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.”
Spielberg’s company, Amblin, released a statement saying the filmmaker would raise his concerns during a meeting with the Academy. “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,” it read on part.
Selma director DuVernay tweeted her opposition to the meeting, writing, “This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there. But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently.”
DuVernay currently has the 2016 documentary 13th streaming through the service and will soon be debuting When They See Us, a film based on the Central Park Five. She is also working on a Netflix documentary based on music icon Prince.
“One of the things I value about Netflix is that it distributes black work far/wide,” DuVernay tweeted this weekend. “190 countries will get WHEN THEY SEE US. Here’s a promo for South Africa. I’ve had just one film distributed wide internationally. Not SELMA. Not WRINKLE. It was 13TH. By Netflix. That matters.”