It's Spielberg vs. Netflix as the Academy of Oscars continues


After "Roma", the Academy will discuss rules that would level the playing field – but the adjustment for Netflix could also affect independent titles. Get ready for a hot battle.

Steven Spielberg is not dying in the light of Green Book, winner of the Best Film Award, which he supported in this year's controversial Oscars. His attention to the Oscars is now dedicated to ensuring that the race never sees another "Roma" – a Netflix movie backed by huge sums, which does not follow the same rules as its competitors.

As far as he is concerned, as things stand, Netflix should only compete for rewards in the Emmy arena; As governor of the Academy representing the branch of the directors, Spielberg is keen to support the rule changes when he will meet for his annual post-Oscar meeting.

"Steven is firmly convinced of the difference between streaming and theatrical situation," said a spokesman for Amblin. "He will be happy for others to join [his campaign] when it happens [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens. "

According to the Academy, "discussions on rewards rules are underway with branches. And the board will likely consider the topic at the April meeting. "

However, when it comes to determining exactly which Netflix rules may have broken, or which ones should be changed, things become obscure.

Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese on the set of

Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese on the set of "The Irishman"

Philip Vaughan / ACE Pictures / REX / Shutterstock

It is clear that the studios are annoyed with the fact that "Roma" could be about to win the first prize of the Academy. Here is a summary of the complaints:

  • Netflix has spent too much. An Oscar-winning strategist estimated the "Roma" spent on "Oscars" and $ 5 million on the "Green Book" at $ 50 million. (The New York Times announced a total marketing budget of $ 25 million.)
  • The huge "Roma" force pushes distributors crushed into foreign languages. Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, said he has no other financial choice than to release the Oscar-nominated films "Never Look Away" and "Capernaum" after the opening of theaters after holidays, which means that fewer voters in the Academy have the chance to see them.
  • "Roma" only spent three weeks in theatrical exclusivity.
  • Netflix does not report box office.
  • Netflix does not respect the 90 day theatrical window.
  • Netflix movies are available in 190 countries, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These claims concern the Academy. However, it is less clear how they fail to meet the standards of the Academy. Box office numbers have no impact on Oscar ratings and each year the films qualify with an exclusive week of theater. Some theaters held "Roma" for 13 weeks. (Tom Brueggemann, IndieWire box-office publisher, estimated the total at $ 3.8 million.)

And even. "There is a growing feeling that if [Netflix] will behave like a studio, there should be some kind of standard, "said a governor of the Academy. "The rules were applied when no one could conceive this present or future. We need a little clarity.

Bob Iger arrives at the 90th luncheon of Oscar nominees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Calif90e Oscars Candidate Luncheon - Arrivals, Beverly Hills, United States - February 05, 2018

Bob Iger

Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / REX / Shutterstock

In addition, while the studios may have knives for Netflix, giant streaming is not their only concern. Other streamers are coming. Amazon Studios is changing its publishing settings to a more flexible model. Disney +, AT & T and Apple are hovering at the horizon. All will live and die on their talent, and for them, the Oscars will be just as crucial.

Under the rules passed in 2012, the Academy does not require an exclusive theatrical window. Several Academy governors said that they recognized that dictating an exclusive window of four weeks ("Roma" had three), or forcing Netflix to advertise its counter numbers, could not steal. The Academy must also know how any rule change can affect other movies.

For example, if a documentary or film made with streamers or premium cable wants to compete for the Oscars, the current rules require one-week Oscar-winning tours in New York and Los Angeles with newspaper reviews. Many films, including those in foreign languages, qualify for the Oscars for one year and become widely available the following year. (Sarandos was not able to plead his case at a meeting of the board of directors, having failed after several attempts to be elected to the board of directors as a member of the board of directors. ;executive.)

You can make sure that an exclusive window rule only applies to candidates for the best image, but that would certainly hinder a lot of producers; even if their titles were unlikely to make the cut, it is also unlikely that they are content to see their films disqualified on the basis of a theatrical release.

THE OSCARS® - The 91st Oscars® will be live on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Hollywood & Highland Center® Dolby Theater® in Hollywood and will be televised live on the ABC television network at 8:00 pm. EST / 5 pm PST. (ABC / Craig Sjodin) CAST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS OF THE GREEN BOOK

Peter Farrelly, director and producer of the "Green Book" at the Oscars 2019

ABC / Craig Sjodin

The studios also displeased Netflix for its omnipresence. "Roma" was played around the world long before most Oscars contenders went through their various auxiliary windows. (It also helped Black / Panther's release of Disney / Marvel in February, aired on Netflix for months, and in the Disney + era, it will not happen again.) How do you legislate for that? On the other hand, some people think that "the Roma" have been "devalued" by their continuous diffusion. In any case, the film was not as good at home as in movie theaters with its Dolby Atmos.

While "Roma" won three Oscars but not the best movie, Netflix has another canary for the Academy's coal mine. Speculation has already begun on the release of Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman", adapted by Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List"), winner of an Oscar, "I Heard You Paint Houses", Charles Brandt, on a killer of the crowd and the fate of Jimmy Hoffa. The movie stars Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel; much of its $ 150 million was spent on the use of special effects to make younger actors flashback.

Scott Stuber, Alfonso Cuaron and Ted Sarandos

Will Netflix open "The Irishman" wide? Sarandos is proud that "Roma" has performed so well in independent theaters without the cooperation of the main theaters. Will he make the 90-day concession to enter the best theatrical circuits and give wide openings to films like Noah Baumbach's still untitled film with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, "The Pope" by David Michôd, " The Pope ", by David Michôd King", Dee Rees' adaptation of "The last thing he wanted" by Joan Didion with Anne Hathaway and Willem Dafoe, or Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers saga "The Laundromat", with Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman?

This concession is unlikely. At its peak, "Roma" was played in 125 independent theaters. Netflix could do it again for his movies, even on several hundred screens, without the help of the majors.

A spokesman for Netflix declined to comment.

But it seems that Netflix may be faced with new rules when the time comes to give another chance to Marty Oscar.

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