×

Netflix Responds to Steven Spielberg’s Push to Bar It From Oscars

Netflix is hitting back at Steven Spielberg’s efforts to stop the streaming service from being nominated for Oscars. Without mentioning the “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park” director by name, the company released a statement on Twitter arguing that it loved cinema and was providing more people with access to films.

“We love cinema. Here are some things we also love,” Netflix tweeted. “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.”

Spielberg, one of the members of the board of governors at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, plans to propose a rules change that would bar films that debut on streaming services or have only a limited exclusive run in theaters from contention for awards. He believes these movies should be eligible for Emmys instead.

Netflix won four Oscars at this year’s awards, including three statues for Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma.” It scored a directing honor for Cuaron, but lost out in the best picture race to Universal’s “Green Book,” a civil rights drama that was produced by Spielberg’s company Amblin Partners and Participant Media.

Netflix was initially insistent that all of its films would premiere simultaneously on streaming platforms and in theaters. However, it has changed that stance. “Roma” had an exclusive three-week theatrical run and upcoming films such as J.C. Chandor’s “Triple Frontier” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will also bow in theaters before they start streaming. Scorsese is looking for the streaming service to have its widest-ever theatrical release, but exhibitors may have other plans. They have resisted Netflix’s overtures and want the company to agree to show its films in theaters for roughly three months before sharing them with their subscribers.

The debate should grow more heated as new players enter the fray. Disney, WarnerMedia, and Comcast are all launching streaming platforms. It’s unclear if the films they produce will be eligible for Oscars. At the same time, Amazon, which had traditional theatrical releases for its films, has signaled it wants to experiment with distribution strategies.

“We are looking at a variety of windows,” Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke recently told Variety. Salke is also planning a slate of films that will debut on the company’s streaming platform instead of in theaters.

A spokesperson for Spielberg told IndieWire that the director thinks there’s a difference.

“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” an Amblin spokesperson. “He’ll be happy if the others will join (his campaign) when that comes up. He will see what happens.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content