Netflix Claps Back After Steven Spielberg Pushes for Oscars Rule Change

Netflix has broken its silence following a week of controversy surrounding Steven Spielberg's suggestion that the streaming giant’s films should be excluded from the Oscars.

On Sunday, following the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s reported statement that he would propose rules to exclude Netflix films from qualifying for Academy Awards, the streaming giant’s official Netflix Film Twitter account shared a statement responding to the reports.

“We love cinema,” the tweet began. “Here are some things we also love: Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in town without, theaters. Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time. Giving filmmakers more ways to share art.”

“These things are not mutually exclusive,” the tweet concluded.

The comment came less than a week after Spielberg, the filmmaker behind Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park and also a board member of the Academy’s directors branch, sparked a wave of backlash after he spoke of his opinion on Netflix titles qualifying for major awards. He also stated that he was proposing motions to prevent such things from occurring in the future.

“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” said an Amblin spokesperson. “He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”

While his opinion drew some support, it was largely met with criticism from others in the entertainment industry, including director Ava DuVernay, who previously worked with the streaming service to distribute her Oscar-nominated documentary 13th and her upcoming four-part limited series When They See Us.

“This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there. But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently,” she tweeted Friday.

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The controversy surrounding Netflix films qualifying for the Oscars comes after Alfonso Cuaron's Roma won three Academy Awards at last month's ceremony, including Best Director, Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography. The film had also been nominated in seven other categories, including the Best Picture category alongside Green Book, which was produced partially by Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment.

The streaming giant’s award-nominated titles have faced controversy before. Last year, Netflix was forced to back out of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival after the event banned films without theatrical release dates from its main competition.