Steven Spielberg Thinks Netflix Films Should Not Qualify for Oscars

"Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie," Spielberg said of movies that debut on streaming services.

Steven Spielberg has some opinions regarding Netflix films being nominated for Academy Awards. "You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar," he said while speaking to ITV News about movies that launch on streaming platforms.

The prolific director, who next will debut Ready Player One, believes that the easily accessible format of streamers like Netflix has made filmmakers less eager to raise funds and submit their films to festivals.

“Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or to go to compete at Sundance,” he said of the annual film festival that takes place in Park City, Utah. “More of them are going to let the SVOD businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight one week theatrical window to qualify them for awards as a movie. But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie.”

He added, "I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."

Spielberg also reflected on the danger the television industry poses to filmmakers. “It is a challenge to cinema the same way television in the early 1950s pulled people away from movie theaters and everybody stayed home because it was more fun to stay home and watch a comedy on television than it was to go out to see a movie,” he said. “Hollywood’s used to that. We are accustomed to being highly competitive with television.”

Adding, “The television is greater today than it’s ever been in the history of television. There’s better writing, better directing, better performances, better stories are being told. Television is really thriving with quality and heart, but it poses a clear present danger to filmgoers.”

The director then confirmed that he does not plan to conform to the trend of making films with streaming services: “I’ll still make The Post for audiences asking them, 'Please to go out to the movies to see The Post,' and not make it directly for Netflix."

Netflix has accumulated eight Oscar nominations in recent years. Mudbound earned four nominations at this year's Academy Awards for best supporting actress, original song, adapted screenplay and cinematography. The streaming service’s other original films that have received nods include the short documentary Heroin(e), Hungary-based foreign language film On Body and Soul and documentaries Icarus and Strong Island.