Change in the Oscars?

Streaming services might not be eligible for Oscar nominations soon

Mark Mapoles, Contributor

There have been rumours going around that Steven Spielberg wants to exclude Netflix from being eligible for Oscar nominations. According to the LA Times, “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” said an Amblin spokesperson. “He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.” This came up because Netflix earned its first best picture nomination this year for the film Roma. The main argument against streaming service films being eligible is that they don’t have a theatrical release. However, if they can create movies that make them the best in a category, it shouldn’t matter whether they were released in theatres or not. Netflix and any other future streaming service that produces movies should be allowed to be nominated for awards..

Times are changing and it seems like this change might be scary for some of the older generations to grasp. An Academy governor said, “The rules were put into effect when no one could conceive of this present or this future. We need a little clarity.” No one could have predicted that there would be a streaming service like Netflix making films and competing with these big studios for awards, but here we are. If successful, the decision to require films to be released in theatres for a set period of time will shut down future streaming services or, if not, it will allow for new ones to pop up since they know they can be recognized for the films they create.

Hopefully, when they have the board meeting, they will be able to see why it’s a smarter decision to allow streaming services to be eligible for Oscar nominations. After hearing about the rumours, Netflix tweeted out, “We love cinema,” the post stated. “Here are some things we also love: 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.” Not everyone has the luxury of having theatres that they can visit on the weekends to watch amazing films that they are interested in. Streaming services give those individuals the opportunity to watch movies that people will be talking about, whereas with theatre releases, they might have to wait six months or so before it gets released on DVD to watch it. If Oscar nominations become only available to films that are released in theatres, then Netflix might not release films on their platform and it will cut off that demographic who don’t have theatres in their towns from having access to quality films.

In the end, the board will probably decide to make it so a film needs to be in theatres for a certain period of time to be eligible for the Oscars. They will want to make sure that directors continue to earn the ludicrous amounts of money that they earn from theatre releases. However, life is full of surprising changes and maybe this will be one of those times. It would be awesome to see a shift in how award ceremonies are held and who can be eligible, it might lead to more streaming services getting into making movies, which is a win-win for consumers.

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