According to various reports, Steven Spielberg has been lobbying the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over whether movies made for streaming services such as Netflix should be allowed to compete with feature films bound for the multiplex.
And while it seemed as if a battle was brewing, a ceasefire may have been reached, with The Hollywood Reporter reporting the famed director of such hits as “Jaws” and “Saving Private Ryan” recently had a sit-down with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.
According to THR, Spielberg and Sarandos were spotted having dinner together at a private club in West Hollywood, which industry watchers see as a sign that “the two industry heavyweights might be looking to achieve some common ground.”
While Spielberg has never specifically dissed Netflix, he has been very clear on his views about movies made for streaming services, which he feels should qualify for Emmys, not Oscars.
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” Spielberg said in an interview with ITV News last year. “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 theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.”
Spielberg has also spoken out about his belief that streaming has its place, but will never replace the communal experience of watching a film in a theatre full of people. “The greatest contribution we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience,” he said during an address to the Cinema Audio Society Award last month. “I’m a firm believer that movie theatres need to be around forever.”
Reps for both Spielberg and Sarandos, added THR, declined comment.