Netflix Responds to Steven Spielberg’s Attempt to Exclude the Streaming Service From the Oscars

Steven Spielberg | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
Steven Spielberg | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Remember when Netflix users would receive the movies they’d want to watch by mail? Netflix is so a part of how we intake media today that it’s easy to forget the company’s origins. The streaming giant has come a long way.  

Steven Spielberg’s been pretty vocal as of late about his stance towards whether or not films made for streaming should be eligible for major awards, like Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars. Roma, for example, was nominated for 10 Academy Awards this year and won three, and the film was featured on Netflix in addition to making the rounds at film festivals. Spielberg doesn’t think a film like Roma should be eligible to be nominated for the awards. Why? Because he feels major awards should celebrate the movie-going experience. He doesn’t feel watching a movie at home on your couch in your pajamas can allow a person to fully take in a cinematic masterpiece.

Netflix’s response

Shortly after the news came that Spielberg was trying to shut out the streaming service from winning certain awards, Netflix posted a statement to Twitter.

“We love cinema. Here are some things we also love:

-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.”

The average price of a movie ticket in North America was $9.11 in 2018. In major cities, tickets can be as high as $16. A night out to the movies for a family of four can add up pretty quickly. Netflix is arguing that their experience, the streaming experience, is a much more inclusive one. Should underprivileged people be exluded from not just award season but the movie-going experience as well?

Twitter users flocked to the post to show their support.

“With two young kids, we cant get to a cinema…or pay the extortionate prices! They are complaining because it may affect their revenue and pockets. Let them hate. Continue,” writes one Twitter user.

“The town I grew up in just got a grocery store. You know there’s no movie theater. Closest is probably an hour away,” writes another.

Spielberg’s proposal

“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation. He’ll be happy if the others will join (his campaign) when that comes up (at the Academy Board of Governors meeting),” a spokesperson for Spielberg’s production company, Amblin, told IndieWire.

Though he doesn’t feel Netflix movies should be eligible to win Oscar awards, he believes the company’s films should be eligible to participate in the Emmys, arguing that the service makes “TV movies.”

Read more: The Real Reason Netflix Needs ‘Space Force’ to be a Hit

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