Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has made no secret of his opposition to streaming movies competing at the Oscars. He thinks they belong at the Emmys with the rest of the small-screen rabble, and he’ll be pushing for rule changes when the academy’s Board of Governors meets. But most of the readers we polled disagree with his position. Scroll down to see our complete poll results.
More than half of our respondents (54%) say, “Movies are movies regardless of their platform, so they belong at the Oscars.” And so far the Oscars themselves seem to agree. The academy nominated a few streaming documentaries over the years before opening the floodgates in 2017 when “Icarus” won Best Documentary Feature and the scripted drama “Mudbound” earned four nominations including Best Supporting Actress (Mary J. Blige) and Best Adapted Screenplay.
This year Netflix did even better. Not only did “Roma” earn 10 nominations and win 3 including Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron), the streaming service also exceeded our expectations with three nominations for the Coen Brothers’ anthology film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” and they won Best Documentary Short for “Period. End of Sentence.” If Spielberg had his way, those would probably have been considered by the television academy instead.
A little over a third of our readers (37%) prefer a compromise that Spielberg might actually approve of. They say, “Streaming movies should be eligible only if they have a traditional theatrical release first.” That’s more in line with Amazon’s distribution model. They produce Oscar contenders like “Manchester by the Sea” and “Cold War,” but they release them in theaters months before they make them available to stream on home video. But those films still don’t have the kind of reach that blockbusters enjoy across the country and around the world. And for that matter, most academy members are probably watching them at home on DVD screeners anyway.
Only 9% of respondents think streaming movies “should stay out of the Oscars under all circumstances.” But if that happens they may take a lot of Hollywood talent with them. Streaming services provide distribution for lots of filmmakers who might otherwise struggle to get their projects seen by wide audiences, including Oscar nominees Ava DuVernay and Joe Berlinger, who have come out in defense of Netflix. But even heavyweights have embraced streaming: in addition to Cuaron and the Coens, Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming film “The Irishman” is a Netflix production, and Oscar champ Steven Soderbergh released his latest, “High Flying Bird,” with the company.
Do you agree with our readers? Check out the results below, and keep voting here to sound off.