Over the weekend, it was reported that Steven Spielberg wants to impose more rules on streaming services to be eligible for an Oscar. And as an Academy Governor representing the directors branch, he’ll push for those rules when the Academy reconvenes in April.
“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” a spokesman for Spielberg’s Amblin explained. “He’ll be happy if the others will join (his campaign) when that comes up. He will see what happens.”
On Sunday night, Netflix responded with a statement on Twitter. Without directly mentioning Spielberg by name, the streaming giant defended the merits of its service and pointed to the benefits it provides young and aspiring filmmakers.
It’s an admirable, albeit political, response, but likely won’t change the tune of Academy governors and exhibitors come April. There are several voices in this matter that go well beyond Spielberg and the Academy.
As Variety points out, despite Netflix’s best intentions of releasing its films simultaneously in theaters, some exhibitors have insisted on a three-month theatrical run ahead of any digital premiere.
What’s more, Netflix isn’t alone, as its own competition, ranging from Amazon and Hulu to newcomers such as Apple and WarnerMedia, all have a stake in this game going forward. It’s very unlikely they’ll sit there silently.
Needless to say, this debate is far from over. It’s just beginning.