In October 2015, Netflix began distributing original movies with war drama Beats of No Nation. Ever since, the there has been a big debate in the industry over whether Netflix movies deserve the same recognition as theatrically released films.
Netflix has won awards for films like Mudbound, which was only on the big screen for one week in New York and LA. Ava DuVernay’s 13th was not released in movie theaters but received a nomination for best documentary feature at the 2016 Academy Awards.
Leading director Steven Spielberg shared his views on the matter, opining that such movies do not deserve the same recognition, especially when it comes to the Oscars. He told ITV news:
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” the iconic director commented. “You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. 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.”
Speilberg is not alone in these views. At the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Netflix’s original feature Okja was met with boos from the audience. Afterwards, the Cannes Films Festival set a new rule that any films selected for competition must be distributed in theaters.