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Netflix at the Oscars: should ‘TV’ movies be considered for the award?

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Netflix at the Oscars: should ‘TV’ movies be considered for the award?

Xander Donahue, Staff Writer

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The 2019 Oscars saw countless great films get awarded for their contribution to cinema. One film, however, has sparked some controversy within the Academy.

“Roma,” a film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, brought home three Oscars this year and received 10 nominations overall. This might not seem like a problem, given that the picture was very well received among audiences. What sets it apart is the fact that it is a Netflix Original, meaning that the film was streamed on TV. It was played in theatres for several weeks in some parts of the world, giving it the chance to meet the requirements to be a potential Oscar winner. The movie was then released only a couple weeks after its theatrical debut, thus creating a problem for theatres.

“[…] over the last few years, the streaming service has butted heads with theater owners for releasing movies online and at the multiplex simultaneously, thereby eroding ticket sales and undercutting the theatrical moviegoing experience, exhibitors say,” according to (vulture.com).

Is it fair for films that are released on TV or through streaming to be considered, or even win, Oscars: an award typically given to films that are meant to be seen in theatres? Besides, this isn’t the first time that a Netflix film has made an appearance at the Oscars.  In 2018 “Mudbound” was nominated for best adapted screenplay, and in 2018 “Icarus” won best documentary feature.

Five-time Oscar winner and world-renowned director, Steven Spielberg, is looking for a change in the award show. Spielberg is currently a governor on the Academy’s directors branch and looking to incorporate some new criteria for movies that want to be considered for an award. According to deadline.com, an Amblin Entertainment spokesperson has spoken about Spielberg’s motives, saying that he feels very strongly about the difference between streamed movies and theatrical releases. Others have speculated that films from streaming services should be eligible for Emmys, not Oscars.

In reality, is there really any harm in making a change in the rules for being considered for an Oscar? I do think that every film should have the chance to get an award, but perhaps a rule, like the one Spielberg is proposing, that requires movies to be played in theatres for at least four weeks will actually increase its chances of being recognized. This change would also give people who don’t have certain streaming services a chance to see these films, and it would help these types of movies create revenue at the box office. I really don’t think that anybody is trying to prevent movies like “Roma” from winning Oscars in the future, but I do believe that certain requirements should be met so that everybody has the chance to see these types of films.

Author
Xander Donahue, Staff Writer

Alexander Donahue is a senior at LHS and a member of various prestigious music groups across the state. He hopes to someday have a bachelor's in music...

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