Legendary director Steven Spielberg has said he doesn’t think movies made for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon should qualify for Academy Awards. “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie”, he told ITV. “If it’s a good show, you deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar.”
Spielberg added that, while television is the “best it’s ever been” with “better writing, better directing, better performance, better stories”, placing films made for TV alongside films made for the cinema would threaten the future of small theatrical filmmaking. “Television is really thriving with quality and heart but it’s posed as a clear, present danger to film-goers”, he said. “A lot of studios would rather just make branded, tent-pole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films. Those smaller films that studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon and Netflix.”
He added: “Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or to compete at Sundance or possibly get one of the speciality labels to release their films theatrically, publicly. More of them are going to let the SVOD [Streaming or Subscription Video on demand] businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight one-week theatrical window to qualify them for awards as a movie.” Reinforcing his point, Spielberg said: “I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theatres for less than a week, should qualify for Academy Award nominations.”
At the 2018 Academy Awards, Spielberg’s The Post was nominated alongside Netflix’s Mudbound for Best Picture. Mudbound was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress.