Netflix movies shouldn't win Oscars, Steven Spielberg says

Commentary: The famous director says anything Netflix does is, by definition, a TV movie.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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Change isn't always good. The pesky thing about it, though, is that it's inevitable.

So when the likes of Amazon and Netflix began winning prizes for their movies, you can imagine some in Hollywood weren't entertained.

One of those appears to be famed director and producer Steven Spielberg. In an interview with the UK's ITV News this week, Spielberg expressed some of the tensions he sees between Hollywood and streaming services.

"We are accustomed to being highly competitive with television," he said. "The difference today is that a lot of studios would rather just make branded tentpole, you know, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films."

I'm not sure every one of those tentpole movies is a guaranteed success. Last year's "The Mummy," for example, lost around $100 million. And it featured Tom Cruise.

Spielberg's problem is that the smaller movies are now going to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu . He said he wouldn't make movies like his latest, "The Post," for Netflix. 

Netflix didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

While conceding that much of "TV" is superbly made, Spielberg insisted these movies shouldn't be able to win Oscars. 

Why? Because "once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie. You certainly, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar."

Spielberg objects to Netflix and the like releasing movies in a few theaters just to qualify for the Oscars.

For some, though, his comments might smack of snobbism. 

If Hollywood studios are too conservative, myopic and retrograde to take risks on small, potentially great movies, why penalize streaming services for taking chances and making great films?

Why, indeed, use the slightly denigrating term "TV movie" for something that might move and inspire just as much, if not more, than any Hollywood movie?

I still love going to the movies. I went last week to the "The Death of Stalin," Armando Iannucci's brilliant satire on communism and power. 

Increasingly, though, because both streaming services and cable TV produce movies of enormous quality, the distinction between the silver screen and the streaming screen becomes blurred.

We all just want to watch something good, right? 

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