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Steven Spielberg Doesn't Think Netflix Movies Should Be Eligible For Oscars

Steven Spielberg isn't keen on Netflix films competing at the Academy Awards. 

The filmmaker, who just released his sci-fi action pic Ready Player One, recently spoke with ITV News, getting candid about his thoughts on the rise of streaming services and on-demand television and film. Spielberg stated that he doesn't believe a Netflix movie getting a short theatrical run, just long enough to qualify for awards consideration, warrants eligibility for Oscar nominations.  

"I don't believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nominations," said Spielberg. 

He continued, "Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money in order to compete in Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically, publicly. And more of them are going to let the SVOD [Streaming Video On-Demand] business finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight one-week theatrical window to qualify them for awards as a movie. But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie."

Spielberg then stated that streaming site content could "deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar." In the past, Netflix has given awards-qualifying theatrical runs to movies like Dee Rees' Mudbound, which earned several Oscar nominations including Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Bong Joon Ho's Okja.

Despite his disdain for Netflix films qualifying for Oscars, Spielberg clarified that he has no issue with the quality of the content in question. The fact of the matter, for Spielberg, is that television poses a threat to filmgoing as a whole. 

"By the way, the television is greater today than it's ever been in the history of television," he said. "There's better writing, better directing, better performances, [and] better stories are being told. Television is really thriving with quality and art, but it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers."

Spielberg also spoke in detail about the spike in premium television, stating that this type of growth has happened before.

"[Television] is a challenge to cinema the same way television in the early 1950s pulled people away from movie theaters and everybody stayed home, because it was more fun to stay home and watch a comedy on television in the 1950s than it was to go out and see a movie. So Hollywood is used to that, we're accustomed to being highly competitive with television," he explained. "The difference today is that a lot of studios would rather just make branded, tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films. And those smaller films the studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon and Hulu and Netflix."

Spielberg's comments are bound to stir up controversy and cause some division between his fans. However, one thing is certain: don't expect Spielberg to make a film for Netflix anytime soon.