Netflix subtweets Steven Spielberg in feud over future Oscars

Netflix films are made-for-TV movies best suited for Emmys, not Oscars, Spielberg says. Netflix disagrees.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
US director Steven Spielberg poses with his two Oscars

US director Steven Spielberg poses with the Oscars he won for Schindler's List in 1994. 

Getty Images

Netflix threw shade at Steven Spielberg on Twitter after the legendary director indicated he'd throw his weight behind making Oscars harder to reach for Netflix films like Roma

"We love cinema," Netflix said in a tweet late Sunday before listing "some things we also love" about films you can stream. It listed accessibility of streamed films for people who can't afford theaters or don't live in an area with a lot of them, and it noted that worldwide streaming gives everyone the chance to watch a movie as soon as its available and provides filmmakers with more ways to share their projects. 

"These things" -- theatrical release and streaming -- "are not mutually exclusive," Netflix said. 

Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg's production company, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. 

Netflix had its best year ever at the Oscars last month, taking home four statues total for Roma and a documentary short. But Spielberg has been part of the camp objecting to Netflix's eligibility for Oscars. Spielberg, as well as many theater chains, think Netflix-distributed films should count as "made-for-TV movies" that should be contending for Emmy awards, not Oscars. 

Spielberg has said he'll take up the issue at a meeting of Academy leaders next month. Spielberg is a high-level member of the Oscar-voting Academy, serving as a "governor" of the branch that represents film directors. 

Critics of Netflix's eligibility for awards say the company only puts movies into cinemas as "token" screenings purely to qualify for awards like the Oscars. Others have complained about Netflix's deep-pocketed campaigns to promote its movies to Academy voters -- its promotional blitz for Roma may have been the most expensive ever -- and grumble that Netflix refuses to conform to other traditional practices, like releasing box office results. 

But others defend Netflix for how its model gives more reach to stories with diverse voices. Director Ava DuVernay, whose documentaries 13th and When They See Us are distributed by Netflix, tweeted that Netflix streaming means projects by or featuring black people and their stories are released far and wide.