Steven Spielberg: Netflix Movies 'Deserve An Emmy, But Not An Oscar'; Here's Why He's Wrong

Steven Spielberg has some thoughts on Netflix movies, and they're not exactly kind. Specifically, Mr. Spielberg feels that Netflix (and movies for streaming services in general) shouldn't qualify for Academy Awards. In his eyes, movies made for Netflix should qualify as "TV movies."

Spielberg has never been one to shy away from innovation when it comes to his films. His Jurassic Park was one of the first Hollywood movies to use extensive CGI, and it changed the face of film forever. But while the filmmaker may be ahead of the curve when it comes to filmmaking, he seems to have not caught up with the modern world of streaming film distribution.

There are some old school filmmakers (and film critics) who just can't let go of the notion that a film must be intended for the big screen to truly be considered genuine. Spielberg seems to subscribe to this line of thinking. In an interview with ITV News (via IndieWire), Spielberg had some choice words for Netflix and streaming movies. According to the Ready Player One director, Netflix movies (and streaming movies in general) shouldn't qualify for Academy Awards – even if they briefly screen in movie theaters.

You can watch the full interview below.

Steven Spielberg On Netflix

"I don't believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nominations," Spielberg said, adding:

"Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money, or to compete at Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically. And more of them are going to let the SVOD [Streaming Video On-Demand] businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight, one-week theatrical window to qualify for awards But, in fact, once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie."

Spielberg goes on to say that Netflix movies "deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar." You can watch the full interview below.

Is Steven Spielberg Wrong? Sort of! 

As much as it pains me to say this – I love me some Spielberg, folks – I think Steven Spielberg is (slightly) wrong here. On one hand, I get where he's coming from. The Academy has a rule that in order for a film to qualify for an Oscar nomination, it must screen in a theater in Los Angeles for a week. We're talking a full week here – seven consecutive days. Also, said film will only be eligible "immediately following the calendar year in which its Los Angeles run takes place. Said run can begin any time between January 1 and December 31."

To get around this, Netlflix has often held limited-run theatrical screenings for their films. Last year, Netflix did this with Mudbound, and it paid off – the film was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. In Spielberg's eye (and in the eye of many in the industry), this is tantamount to cheating. I'm sure he'd much prefer it if Netflix would just launch all of their movies to the big screen first. But here's the thing: the timesm they are a-changin'. The Academy's one-week rule may have made some sense 10 years ago, but now, streaming movies are becoming more and more abundant. Not only that, the quality of the films is increasing – Mudbound was one of the best films of 2017. The fact that it played primarily on Netflix and not in theaters didn't diminish its quality one iota.

While I understand where Spielberg is coming from – he's an old school guy who wants movies to be projected on the biggest screen possible – I also think his line of thinking here is outdated. Get with the times, Mr. Spielberg (and other members of the Academy). The future is here.