Speed Reads

Streaming wars

Netflix tweets 'we love cinema' as Steven Spielberg looks to disqualify them from the Oscars

Netflix is defending its love of cinema amid a fierce debate over whether they should be kicked out of the Oscars.

The official Netflix Film Twitter account on Sunday weighed into a firestorm that began with reports that director Steven Spielberg is looking to introduce a new Oscars rule disqualifying films that don't play exclusively in theaters for four weeks. Under Netflix's current strategy, this would make their movies ineligible at the Academy Awards. Roma only played in theaters for three weeks before hitting streaming, and this was seen as a major concession because Netflix usually debuts its movies online on the same day they open theatrically.

"We love cinema," the Netflix account said while adding that they also love providing broader access to films and "letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time."

Spielberg's argument is that steps should be taken to preserve the traditional theatrical moviegoing experience and prevent it from dying amid the rise of streaming platforms, while others feel that Netflix allows movies that might not otherwise make it to theaters to be seen by a wide audience.

The proposed rule change is expected to be introduced at an upcoming meeting of the Academy's Board of Governors, but it's unclear whether it will pass. One Academy executive branch member told The Hollywood Reporter that "this won't go down as easily" as previous rule changes, predicting a "huge fight." With several of this year's upcoming Netflix movies looking like 2020 Oscars contenders, don't expect this debate to slow down anytime soon.