There's no denying the significance Netflix has had on the mediums of television and film, not just as a distribution platform but as a creator of content as well. But that doesn't mean they deserve award recognition as other major films, according to Steven Spielberg.
While speaking with ITV News about his new film Ready Player One, the legendary director spoke about how services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are disrupting the movie industry when he revealed his opinion on whether or not the movies deserve to be recognized by the Academy Awards.
"Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie," said Spielberg. "You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar… I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."
Spielberg spoke about how the movie industry has often dealt with the shifting landscape in media consumption, from the emergence of television in the '50s to the domination of streaming platforms today. He spoke about how the movie industry has also changed as the major studios continue to favor successful franchises, rather than take a chance on new stories.
"Hollywood is used to that, we are accustomed to being highly competitive with television," Spielberg said. "The difference today is that a lot of studios would rather just make branded, tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded, successful movies than take chances on smaller films. And those smaller films that studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix."
While Spielberg recognizes the problems these streaming platforms pose to the conventional movie business, he also praised the era of "peak TV" as it's been called.
"By the way, the television is greater today than it's ever been in the history of television," Spielberg said. "Television is really thriving with quality and art, but it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers."
He said that he's concerned about the current trend, but that he'd still prefer to make movies like The Post, his award-nominated film about the Washington Post's investigation into the Pentagon Papers, for movie theaters rather than take it to Netflix.
"Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or … to compete in Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically, publicly, and more of them are going to let the SVOD [streaming video on demand] business finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight one week theatrical window in order to qualify them for [Oscar nominations]."
Spielberg raises an interesting point, especially after Cannes said they would not screen movies for the celebrated film festival if they came from Netflix.
Is Spielberg making a good point about Netflix movies and how they shouldn't be recognized for Academy Awards? Or is he out of touch on the issue? Let us know what you think in the comments!