Legendary director Steven Spielberg is apparently steering hard into the “you damn kids get off my lawn” phase of his career, after taking a spray at streaming services like Netflix and saying that their films should not qualify for the same awards as traditional studio-based fare.
Spielberg made the comments in an interview with Britain‘s ITV News, saying that while the rise of streaming services has led to an influx of quality television shows, it is also drawing patrons away from movie theatres and eroding the financial viability of smaller, independent films.
“A lot of studios would rather just make branded tentpole, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded, successful movies than take chances on smaller films,” said the director of Jurassic Park. “And those smaller films the studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.”
While this this is arguably a good thing for the makers of independent films like The Big Sick, which was released in partnership with Amazon and met with great success, Spielberg still apparently feels that streaming robs films of some of their lustre. He went on to say:
“Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money or to go to compete in Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their film theatrically, publicly, and more of them are going to let the [streaming video on demand] business 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. The good show deserves 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.”
Regardless of how Hollywood’s old guard may feel, streaming services are beginning to make noise at awards season. At this year’s Oscars, Netflix scored several nods, including a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Mary J Blige in Mudbound, and a win for the documentary Icarus.
You can watch Steven Spielberg’s ITV interview below: