Last week, Hollywood came out in full force against Netflix movies. In an interview for his upcoming film Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg – a.k.a. the authority on all things cinema – said that Netflix movies are not deserving of the same awards as other films.
“You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar,” Spielberg said of Netflix films. The three-time Oscar-winner’s main quarrel is with financing and the “token” status achieved by some Netflix films in a week-long release to qualify them for festivals.
“Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or to go to compete at Sundance,” he told ITV News. “More of them are going to let the SVOD [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. But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”
He continued, “I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theatres for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”
It looks like Spielberg’s views are in line with those of other influencers in the film industry. The Cannes Film Festival announced Friday that among other new regulations – including a red carpet selfie ban – Neflix Originals will not be considered for awards.
Cannes artistic director Theirry Fremaux said that his allowance of streaming platforms to compete for honours last year may have been misguided. He admitted that he had hoped that by letting Netflix films compete, he could encourage the platform to release them in cinemas. Netflix took no such action, so this year, they’re out of the running.
Netflix has a lot of people torn on the subject of what constitutes a “real” movie. Sure, it has its TV movie-quality productions like A Christmas Prince and the Will Smith dud Bright, but they’re also creating real gems like Mudbound which was nominated for four Academy Awards this year.
It looks like it’s up to the Hollywood gods to determine what gets an award nod and what is just a TV movie. For our purposes, we’ll just keep on streaming and see what happens come award season.