Steven Spielberg Says Netflix 'TV Movies' Don't Deserve Oscars

Even though Netflix films like Icarus, Mudbound and 13th have all earned Oscar nominations, director Steven Spielberg does not agree that they deserve them.

When asked if he sees Netflix as a challenge to the traditional moviegoing business, Spieblerg told ITV News he does, comparing it to television's growth in the 1950s taking audiences away from the movies.

"We are accustomed to being highly competitive with television," Spielberg said of Hollywood. "The difference today is that a lot of studios would rather just make a branded tentpole - you know, guaranteed box office hits from their inventory of branded successful movies than take chances on smaller films. Those smaller films that studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu and Netflix."

Although Spielberg agrees that we are living in a new golden age of television, he does not think it poses a "clear and present danger to film goers." Spielberg thinks more filmmakers will be more likely to go to Netflix or other Video On Demand distributors to finance their films than the studios and their specialty labels, "maybe with the promise of a slight, one-week theatrical window to qualify for awards."

The director does not agree with doing that though, although the major studios themselves do it in a way. In fact, Spielberg's own film The Post was only released days before the end of 2017 to qualify for the 2018 Oscars. Of course, with Netflix films though, the films' theatrical releases are even more limited.

“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar,” Spielberg told ITV. “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.”

Spielberg is not the only high-profile director to take a swipe at Netflix. Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan called Netflix's distribution strategy "mindless," but he later told Variety he apologized. Quentin Tarantino also said he refuses to use Netflix.

Netflix has already earned an armful of Oscar nominations, and it distributed this year's Best Documentary Feature winner, Icarus. Dee Rees' acclaimed Mudbound earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song and Best Supporting Actress for Mary J. Blige's role.


Netflix typically releases films in theaters the same day it is available to stream at home. However, the theatrical runs have been criticized for being too limited.

Spielberg's Ready Player One opens on Friday.