Steven Spielberg has come under attack amid plans to propose Academy officials block films made for streaming services like Netflix from competing at the Oscars.
The celebrated moviemaker has previously made no secret of his preference for films to receive traditional theatrical releases, instead of having projects backed by services like Netflix debuting online on the same day as it begins a short big screen run to make it eligible for the Oscars.
The topic drew further attention at the 2019 ceremony as Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma was hotly tipped to win Best Picture, and although it ended up losing to Green Book, its entry appears to have reignited the debate about the industry impact of modern filmmaking practices.
Spielberg, who serves as a governor of the Academy’s directors branch, is reportedly set to introduce the idea of a change in eligibility rules at an upcoming board meeting, according to IndieWire.
“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” a spokesperson for his production firm, Amblin Entertainment, told the website. “He’ll be happy if the others will join (his campaign) when that comes up (at the Academy Board of Governors meeting). He will see what happens.”
However, Spielberg’s move has sparked a backlash from others in the Hollywood community, who have taken to social media to push back against the Jaws filmmaker’s proposal.
Director Ava DuVernay, who earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2017 for her Netflix prison reform film 13th, was among the first to share her comments online.
“Dear Academy, this is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there,” she tweeted. “But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently.”
“Steven Spielberg is gunning to make sure Netflix never has another Oscars contender like Roma,” wrote The Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell as he also pushed back against the idea of a ban.
“Sorry, Mr. Spielberg, Roma ain’t no TV movie (sic) – it’s as impressive as anything out there. Platforms have become irrelevant. Make a movie with Netflix.”
And Insecure actor Jean Elie simply called Spielberg out for trying to narrow the field of contenders: “Why would you want to stop others from shining/sharing the light?” he queried.
Roma, which scored three Academy Awards, wasn’t the only Netflix project to impress Oscars voters when the nominations list was first unveiled – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was shortlisted for two prizes, and End Game picked up one for Best Short Documentary.
– Cover Media0