Netflix has responded to film legend Steven Spielberg’s comments about the Oscars that drummed up a lot of debate and controversy recently. In a statement that doesn’t mention Spielberg or the Oscars by name, Netflix listed some of the reasons why the streaming network’s role in the distribution of film is important.
“We love cinema,” the statement starts off by saying. It then lists off some of the ways Netflix’s unique distribution model that bypasses theatres helps the film industry overall.
“Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theatres. Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time,” it said. “Giving filmmakers more ways to share art.”
“These things are not mutually exclusive.”
Netflix’s statement came after Spielberg reportedly plans to request a change to the Oscars eligibility rules that would block movies that air exclusively on streaming services or only come to theatres for a limited time from winning an Oscar. Under the proposed new rules, such films could qualify for an Emmy but not an Oscar. This has understandably generated a lot of debate and discussion.
Spielberg’s comments follow a big Oscars season for Netflix. The Alfonso Cuaron drama Roma, which is exclusive to Netflix, won three Oscars at the recent 91st Academy Awards.
We love cinema. Here are some things we also love:
-Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theaters
-Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time
-Giving filmmakers more ways to share art
These things are not mutually exclusive.
— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) March 4, 2019
Spielberg’s production company, Amblin, told IndieWire in a statement, “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation.”
Spielberg will reportedly lobby the Academy to make changes as part of the upcoming Academy Board of Governors meeting in April. We’ll report back when more details become available.
Last April, Spielberg said Netflix movies should not qualify for the Oscars and that platforms like Netflix represent a “clear and present danger” to traditional film. Spielberg has been nominated for 17 Oscars, and he’s won three.