The U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures is the organization responsible for the Oscars awards ceremony and they wield a lot of power.
But director Steven Spielberg might be the most powerful, influential filmmaker of all time because he single-handedly created the summer blockbuster with “Jaws” and invented product placement with “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” with Reese’s Pieces.
And now one of the most powerful organizations, the U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures, just made a shocking move to defy one of the greatest living directors.
It won’t be long before Netflix and Disney dominate the film industry.
For a brief moment last year, Netflix actually became the biggest media company in the world, overtaking The Walt Disney Company’s rein for a few days before they eventually took it back.
Nevertheless, these two streaming and studio giants (Disney-plus streaming service will launch in November 2019) will be the most powerful film and television entities in the world, by far.
However, many powerful filmmakers like Steven Spielberg argued that current streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu should not be allowed into the top award categories for the Oscars.
His comments came after Netflix’s Roma was nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars but ultimately lost to Green Book. After his initial comments received backlash from his fellow Hollywood community his production company responded.
A statement from Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment read, “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation. 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.”
But the Academy Board of Governors reached their decision that they would not prohibit or restrict any movie from being allowed into the top categories.
The statement issued on Wednesday said, “The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to maintain Rule Two, Eligibility for the 92nd Oscars. The rule states that to be eligible for awards consideration, a film must have a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles County commercial theater, with at least three screenings per day for paid admission. Motion pictures released in nontheatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County theatrical qualifying run remain eligible.”
Basically, all the streaming services have to do to qualify is to show their movie on one screen.
That’s what Netflix did with “Roma.” But while Netflix manipulates the awards’ rules in their favor to qualify, Spielberg does has a point.
The argument he’ll make at the upcoming meeting in April is that the approach to how the film is screened is determined by how the filmmakers make it.
For example, when prepping for a movie, the way a project is filmed, which ultimately affects the creative process, is dictated by how it’s meant to be screened. A big-budget Christopher Nolan film is meant to be seen/heard in an IMAX theater.
It boils down to the difference between taking a picture with your iPhone and painting a canvas. Or, better yet, it’s like seeing that canvas through a picture on your iPhone versus being in the Louvre in Paris.
And the Academy President, John Bailey, said, “We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions. 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.”
These discussions will be ongoing and sometimes controversial.
You have to remember that filmmakers like David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian de Palma, and Spielberg are all purist filmmakers who understand the difference in moviemaking aspects at home versus a theater.
But Netflix is coming and there’s nothing stopping that train.