Netflix has come out in defense of itself following backlash surrounding the streaming service's recognition at the Oscars. While filmmakers like Alfonso Cuarón also stand on the side of Netflix, others like Steven Spielberg believe that films released by Netflix don't deserve recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and should instead be treated as made-for-TV movies.
The drama surrounding Netflix's recognition by the Academy isn't unique to films released over the past year, but Roma's ten Oscar nominations have roused a significant amount of attention. Spielberg, especially, has publicly objected to the fact that a streaming service like Netflix can be recognized at the Oscars, insisting that they ought to only be qualified for for a TV awards show like the Emmys. Acknowledging the fact that we're essentially in a golden age of television, he believes that a movie made in the TV format should be recognized as a TV movie. Cuarón, on the other hand, has stood in defense of the streaming service, insisting that Netflix opens the door for a more diverse method of releasing films. Naturally, Netflix shares that sentiment.
Netflix tweeted in response to the ongoing Oscar backlash, prefacing their defense with the fact that they "love cinema," before adding, "Here are some other things we also love." The short, but cogent tweet leans on convenience, as well as Netflix's encouragement for creative diversity. The bulleted list reads as follows: "Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theaters; Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time; Giving filmmakers more ways to share art." Check out the tweet below:
We love cinema. Here are some things we also love:— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) March 4, 2019
-Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theaters
-Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time
-Giving filmmakers more ways to share art
These things are not mutually exclusive.
Aside from how the fight against Netflix impacts Netflix directly, other films not released by the streaming service might also be affected by Spielberg's attempt to modify Academy rules. It could inevitably extend to other films, eliminating their chances to even have a shot at being nominated for Oscars. So, what seems to be starting out as a personal vendetta against Netflix could end up having serious repercussions for Hollywood in general.
This era of streaming services was bound to incite a few differences of opinion. After all, services like Netflix and Hulu are disruptors, causing a major shift in the industry. So, with that said, it was only a matter of time before it gave rise to some resisters; and of course someone who's been in the game as long as Spielberg might have a strong opinion, whether the majority is on his side or not. Unfortunately, it just so happens that his opinion is easy to paint as feeling somewhat dated or elitist, while Netflix and Cuarón's stance feels fresher and more aligned with the times. That said, change takes time, and maybe that's all Spielberg really needs.