Steven Spielberg, director of Hollywood classics such as Jaws, Jurassic Park and E.T., has argued that films that debut on streaming services shouldn't be eligible to win Oscars.
A spokesperson for Spielberg's production house Amblin Entertainment has told IndieWire that the director aims to lobby for support for new rules restricting the accolades streaming films can win – an issue Spielberg "feels strongly" about – at the Academy's Board of Governors meeting in April.
Spielberg has previously dismissed the output of Netflix (and by association, Amazon and other streaming services as producing "TV movies", as you can see in the below inerview with ITV News back in March of 2018:
Traditionalist vs industry shakers
But has this horse already bolted? After weathering a storm of controversy at several awards events including Cannes, Netflix finally had its day in the sun at the 2019 Oscars, with its film Roma picking up three Academy Awards.
Spielberg seems to be aiming to safeguard the traditional cinema going experience, and the likes of Netflix does indeed have powerful means to undermine old-school Hollywood, with reams of viewer data, day-and-date worldwide releases windows, and the ability to game the system of eligibility for awards with short theatrical release windows.
The director however seems to be missing the fact that Netflix and Amazon distribute films to massive audiences that would otherwise go unseen by many, from documentaries like Shirkers to films like the aforementioned Roma, they offer a platform and distribution network that cinemas invested in blockbuster movies cannot support.
Spielberg, it must be noted, is not adverse to working with streaming services – he's putting together a new series of his Amazing Stories show as an Apple iTunes exclusive. But for the director, a distinction must be made – if a great film begins life on a TV streaming services, it deserves to win a TV award like an Emmy, not an Oscar.