Michael Douglas believes he was denied the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival due to Steven Spielberg’s supposed anti-TV bias.
Speaking to Benicio del Toro for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series, the 74-year-old reveals he heard rumours that he would have won Best Actor for his performance as Liberace in 2013’s “Behind the Candelabra” if not for Spielberg, who was the Cannes jury president that year.
“The word was I was the favourite for the best actor award,” Douglas claims. “[Spielberg] put the kibosh on that, because it was an HBO film. So when I now see this argument and beef about Showtime or Netflix, in this case, doing feature films, I think they’ve got to get this resolved.”
“Behind the Candelabra” famously blurred the lines between TV and film, being shown on HBO in North America, but receiving a theatrical release internationally.
Douglas’ comments come after recent controversy over Spielberg reportedly working to make sure films released on streaming services get extended theatrical releases in order to qualify for Academy Awards.
Spielberg has a long history with television, having started his career directing episodes of shows like “Columbo” and TV films like “Duel” in the early 1970s. In the years since, he has produced a number of TV series, including “Smash”, “Under the Dome” and “Five Came Back”.
The 2013 Cannes prize Best Actor ended up being awarded to Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”, and he went on to be nominated for an Oscar for his work.
Despite not winning at Cannes in 2013, Douglas went on to win Best Actor in a TV movie at the Emmys later that year and at the Golden Globes in 2014.
ET Canada has reached out to Spielberg’s rep for comment.