Steven Spielberg loses Oscars battle with Netflix

The director had previously referred to films produced by the streaming service as "TV movies".

Steven Spielberg has lost his campaign for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to prohibit movies produced by streaming sites like Netflix from competing at the Oscars.

The Academy revealed on Tuesday (23Apr19) that its Board of Governors had approved a number of new rule changes ahead of the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards next year (2020).

While the amendments impact a number of categories, Academy president John Bailey addressed the streaming debate directly and suggested that, as consumer behaviour changes, it's important for the organisation to adapt accordingly.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions," he stated. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues."

Netflix film Roma, which also had a theatrical release, dominated the 2019 Oscars shortlist, eventually taking home three awards.

The Jurassic Park director, 72, had argued that movies produced for streaming services should be eligible for Emmys, the ceremony that honours television shows, as opposed to the Academy Awards.

While Spielberg had previously referred to streaming films as "TV movies" in an interview with ITV News, Netflix's upcoming original film The Irishman is expected to perform well at the 2020 Academy Awards ceremony, and star of the movie Robert De Niro reflected upon the positive impact of Netflix on the film industry.

"A lot of opportunity has come out of the Netflix thing," the 75-year-old told CNN. "It's not so simple and I agree we have to have the theatre format, it's so important. But I don't know, things move on in ways that we can't foresee."

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