In an interview with ITV News, legendary director Steven Spielberg, 71, said he doesn't think Netflix streaming movies should be eligible for Oscars, even if they are initially screened in theaters.
Spielberg told ITV News:
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 theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.
This sparked a heated debate online, with emotions running high on both sides of the argument.
All Twitter users in favor of Spielberg's point of view say, "aye":
Spielberg is correct. Emmys and Oscars should be separated and a movie should not compete in both. It diminishes the value of both awards... Or invent something entirely new, a third one, like Streamer Awards.— Tero Heikkinen (@Tepi76) March 26, 2018
I kinda have to agree. Films that don't get any sort of theatrical release shouldn't be eligible. This will be an incentive for studios to release their films in the theaters.— Ali (@_af1992) March 25, 2018
I agree with Spielberg. Movies should play in theaters for an Oscar. But what about Steven’s great friend, Martin Scorsese? His next film The Irishman is produced by Netflix. It might play in theaters(I hope to God it does) and Netflix streaming or it might be stream only. WTF?— art lover (@tweetbrowser81) March 25, 2018
Valid. I agree. There’s a lot of difference between TV movies and movies. The format is really different. We need to identify the importance of both and give equal respect. Both, are very interesting and worth it, different perspectives in how it’s made.— Narola C Jamir (@narolacjamir) March 25, 2018
The screen doesn't matter. When you write with commercial breaks in mind, you get an Emmy. When you're not constrained by advertising demands on your feature length format, you're eligible for Oscars.— krk nordenstrom (@knordenstrom) March 25, 2018
For every comment supporting Spielberg's opinion, there was an equal and opposite reaction:
He sounds like an old man yelling “get off my lawn” or “what happened to the good old days” Netflix is sponsoring some great independent filmmakers and maybe it’s their time for an award or three.— Sam Ibrahim (@Samstrosity) March 26, 2018
The times are a changing streaming and vod should qualify— Chris Lawrence (@clawfish) March 26, 2018
Spielberg also warned that television/streaming could discourage filmmakers from pursuing the funding necessary for theatrical releases, thereby threatening the survival of the movie-going experience:
Television is really thriving with quality and art but it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers.
The medium through which a movie gets released should not dictate it's eligibility to win awards or not.— sanyam (@sanyam009) March 26, 2018
There’s tv movies with a quality similar to any movie released in theaters. why can’t you include those movies on the same category? Some individuals refuse to acknowledge the changes on the industry. They want everything to stay the same way forever. Shame.— natedrake81 (@nathandrake81) March 25, 2018
Captain Ram lamented the possibility of fewer theatrical releases:
So theater releasing is basically diminishing right before my eyes! Apocalypse is near!— ✴️ Captain Ram ✴️ (@Magnilamar) March 26, 2018
Here's the complete ITV News interview. The Ready Player One director starts talking about Netflix about five minutes in.