I. Shank

I. Shank

Ian Shank, Entertainment Writer

Steven Spielberg, director of “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park,” and “The Close Encounters of The Third Kind,” is leading the charge against the streaming service Netflix (who’s film “Roma” directed by Alfonso Cuaron took home the Academy Award for best foreign film). Spielberg said in a statement regarding Netflix’s films: “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. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.” Spielberg is now using his platform to have Netflix films, as well as films from other streaming services, to be barred from awards consideration. His comments have received a divided response from Academy members. One member said “Netflix does so much for filmmakers in terms of enabling them to make their movies and get them out to the world. It’s so hard to make independent films these days. I just can’t imagine that he’s a guy who’s worried about finding backing for his movies or getting them distribution. I’m not sure he knows what that’s like.” Joe Berlinger, director of “Paradise Lost” credits Netflix with helping support mature and indie cinema saying “As an Academy member I am concerned about the Academy staying relevant and understanding the seismic shifts that are happening in how people consume entertainment, and a small theatrical release followed up by a global streaming release is the future of viewing for my daughters’ generation. More importantly, as traditional Hollywood continues to focus on big, blockbuster global event films and comic book sequels, the edgy adult-themed ‘indie’ dramas that until recently were a flourishing category of cinema are in danger of extinction. The entry of players like Netflix gives these kinds of very cinematic movies a new lease on life, and as a filmmaker and an Academy member, I want to give these kinds of movies every opportunity they deserve to survive, regardless of how many traditional theaters they play in.”

If this previous year’s Academy Awards were any indication of the future of film, Netflix is a dominant force and is here to stay.