Charlie Hunnam Backs Netflix in Oscar Eligibility Debate: 'They're Working With the Cream of the Crop'

After Netflix earned 15 Oscar nominations this year, the streaming service received some criticism, with its detractors arguing that the service's model shouldn't warrant the honor.

Actor Charlie Hunnam, who starred in Netflix's Triple Frontier, shared his thoughts on the controversy in an interview with Collider, responding to the interviewer's opinion that any Netflix film, should it be played in a theater, should also be eligible for a nomination.

"I don't even know if I agree with the stipulation that it has to play in a theater," he said. "I don't know why a theatrical release needs to be an element to make it eligible. I feel that sincere filmmaking at the highest level, which is what Netflix are doing — they're working with the cream of the crop of filmmakers and writers, and then of course, that in turn is attracting a very very high level of actor and everybody else in the filmmaking community."

"I think that it's inevitable because of the political — people have an enormous vested interest in maintaining the theatrical model and making that as desirable as possible — but I think it's rather unfair that that might prohibit Netflix from being taken seriously in awards contention," he added.

Triple Frontier was released in March and also stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal.

In recent years, the streaming service has heavily increased its output of original content, including projects featuring noted filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the Oscar-winning Roma, and actors including Hunnam and Affleck.

This year, Roma was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won Best Foreign Language Film, with Cuaron picking up prizes for directing and cinematography, while the documentary short Period. End of Sentence. won one honor. Netflix spent huge amounts of money promoting Roma, and it clearly paid off, paving the way for even more Academy Awards success from the streaming giant in the future.

One major critic of Netflix's Oscar nominations was director Steven Spielberg, who believes that Netflix films should be submitted for Emmy consideration, not the Oscars.

"Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie," Spielberg previously told ITV News. "You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don't believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."

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Netflix seemingly responded to the criticism in a March tweet when it wrote about making cinema accessible to all.

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