I love Steven Spielberg as an artist, but his proposal to change the rules to keep streaming companies out of the Oscars, is way off base. As the Academy Awards attempts to stay relevant, he proposes to constrict, rather than expand, the scope of what constitutes an Oscar worthy film.
Mr. Spielberg prefers to watch a movie in a theater. That’s fine, until he wants to codify his personal preference, as a requirement for Oscar qualification. Netflix follows the arbitrary rules and puts their films in theaters for the required amount of time. This isn’t good enough? Interestingly, action films make most use of the “big screen experience” and they RARELY get a nod from Oscar, outside of the technical awards. Clearly, it’s not the experience that’s being protected.
What it seems to boil down to is protecting the prestige (& profits) of the traditional studios and the ancillary distribution markets that inherently erect insurmountable barriers to entry, for the vast majority of filmmakers. If only the studios have the access and resources to fund a major theatrical release, then only the studios will be able to qualify for the lucrative Oscar. The Academy would be setting themselves up for failure, by leaving innovation behind. They will be leaving great content behind, and in the process, relegating themselves to irrelevancy.
Who will care about the Academy Awards if people know that worthy films aren’t even able to compete?
The saving grace is that the Academy voters have themselves voted for films from these new studios. Will the Academy members agree that they were wrong and can no longer be trusted? Let’s hope they vote contrary to Mr. Spielberg’s flawed plan, and continue to honor filmmaking, not the status-quo, studio club.
Los Angeles Times Entertainment
The Hollywood Reporter
Los Angeles Times: Steven Spielberg to propose Oscar rules that could keep streaming films out of contention.