Steven Spielberg thinks streaming films shouldn't win Oscars

Spike Lee with Oscar

Mike Coppola VF19 | Getty Images

Multi-Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg became the latest high-profile figure to criticise Netflix, saying its reluctance to release films in cinemas was harming the "motion picture theatrical experience". Perhaps the most vocal critic leading this charge is none other than Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg.

Netflix highlighted the potential for streaming services to reach audiences who are otherwise cut off from movie theatres, not having different releases in different countries and giving filmmakers more outlets as reasons for why they should be considered a film distributor just like any other. It's clear that Spielberg wants to propose changes to the Academy's rules which will either keep Netflix films from competing or force the streaming company to release more of their films theatrically.

"Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation", said an Amblin spokesperson. He will see what happens. According to reports, other Academy representatives feel Netflix needs to adhere to certain standards to be eligible for Oscars moving forward. You really can't argue with that.

"Roma" may have lost Best Picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. This was even being supported by Spielberg himself, who believes making a movie for streaming is pretty much equivalent to making a TV movie, which he thinks should qualify for an Emmy, not an Oscar.

The Academy is set to meet and discuss the issue in April. And those smaller films the studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Alfonso Cuarón's Spanish-language drama Roma won three trophies - best director, best foreign language film and best cinematography.

Despite the large back catalogue of films that she has directed only two have been distributed internationally. And regular branch members can't be there.

For the past few years, Netflix has steadily made gains at the Oscars, from "Mudbound" to this year's "Roma". Regardless, this decision will be a monumental one in the future of movies and continued relevance of the Oscars.

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