LOS ANGELES: Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg thinks Netflix films are “TV movies”, and shouldn’t get Oscar consideration. Since Netflix began distributing movies, the industry has been rife with contention about whether such films deserve the same recognition as traditional, theatrically released films, particularly when it comes to the Academy Awards.
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. 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 theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination,” Spielberg said.
Netflix just started gaining awards recognition for films like Dee Rees’ Mudbound, which received a one-week theatrical release in Los Angeles and New York, and Ava DuVernay’s 13th, which did not release in theatres but was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2016 Academy Awards.
Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan has also weighed in on Netflix, calling the streaming giant’s release plans “bizarre” and “mindless”.
He later apologised to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, however, calling his remarks “undiplomatic”.
The controversy has also spread to question the place of Netflix films at festivals, with the premiere of Netflix’s Okja at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival being met with boos as the Netflix logo displayed on the screen.
Cannes established a rule after last year’s festival that in the future, any films that are selected for competition must also commit to a theatrical distribution.
In a recent interview, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said that Netflix and Amazon do represent “something important” and that “we will eventually come up with a good agreement because, in order for a film to become part of history, it must go through theatres, box office, the critics, the passion of cinephiles, awards campaigns, books, directories, filmographies. All this is part of a tradition on which the history of film is based.”