Netflix has hit back in its row with Steven Spielberg and the traditionalist Hollywood elites over films made by streaming service providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime being eligible for Academy awards.
His problem: that Roma should be considered a “TV movie” only and therefore not eligible for a Best Picture Oscar. His reasoning: that Netflix films aren’t ordinarily screened in theatres and when they are they aren’t shown in the conventional way. He was also annoyed that Netflix spent more money on Oscars PR than the major studios ever would.
Spielberg recently said that he loves TV but “the greatest contributions we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience.” He makes a good point: there’s nothing quite like seeing a film with an audience on the big screen (and Spielberg is responsible for some of American cinema’s greatest exponents of the “big screen” experience). But Netflix has championed alternative voices, and while it is itself a huge studio now, its platform allows independent filmmakers to get seen.
And, ultimately, a great film is a “GREAT FILM” regardless of the screen size on which it plays. Netflix has, understandably hit back. It wrote on Twitter that “we love cinema” but that the streaming providers also loves “access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theaters”, “letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time” and “giving filmmakers more ways to share art”. It said these things are not mutually exclusive.
Netflix didn’t mention Spielberg by name in its Tweet but it’s clear, given the timing and the references, that it is responding to criticism of its service by the director of Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Jaws.