‘Triple Frontier’ Star Ben Affleck Defends Netflix Following Steven Spielberg’s Comments

Actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck, who next headlines Triple Frontier for Netflix, has defended the streaming giant after director Steven Spielberg pushed back against Netflix’s eligibility for Academy Awards.

“It’s very exciting, because you get the sense you’re defining where the future of cinema and distribution is going,” Affleck told the Associated Press at the Triple Frontier carpet premiere.

“Already people are watching movies on more and more platforms than they ever have, and you get the sense that you’re part of sort of this merging transition — I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to look, there’s some controversy, people have different opinions, but it’s definitely also fun to be part of what Netflix is doing, because they’re heavily investing in telling stories, they want to push a lot of stuff out there. And there’s a thrill and a rush, an excitement to that.”

Co-star Oscar Isaac dubbed Triple Frontier more of a “couch-buster” because “no one’s waiting around a block for this,” the star quipped of the direct-to-Netflix blockbuster co-starring Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal and Garrett Hedlund.

Spielberg previously said television is “greater today than it’s ever been in the history of television,” adding the thriving model of entertainment “poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers.”

“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” Spielberg told ITV News last March.

“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 added Hollywood is “accustomed to being highly competitive with television,” but noted the blockbuster-driven industry pushes smaller-minded films towards streamers.

“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,” Spielberg said.

“And those smaller films that studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.”

Netflix heavily pushed its Alfonso Cuarón-directed Roma at this year’s Academy Awards, where the film garnered 10 nominations — including Best Picture — winning Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. Best Picture was ultimately awarded to Green Book, the period comedy-drama backed by Spielberg’s DreamWorks.

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