Netflix has responded to Steven Spielberg. The Oscar-winning director behind movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Jurassic Park has been very vocal about his feelings toward the world's largest streaming service. Specifically, he sees what they do as something very different since their movies are rarely released theatrically and, if they are, it's usually just long enough to qualify for the Academy Awards. Now, Spielberg is going to petition the Academy Board of Governors at their upcoming meeting to make a rule change that would make it far more difficult for Netflix to qualify for the Oscars.

Essentially, Steven Spielberg, who serves as the Academy's directors branch governor, is going to recommend a rule change that would require a movie to have an exclusive four-week theatrical window prior to its release elsewhere to be eligible for major Oscars. Netflix, even when they do grant a theatrical release, will often release the movie on their streaming service at the same time. In response, Netflix took to their official Twitter account and had this to say.

"We love cinema. Here are some things we also love: Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without, theaters. Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time. Giving filmmakers more ways to share art. These things are not mutually exclusive."

For their part, Netflix has been giving lots of money and freedom to big-name creatives in Hollywood. For example, Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director at this year's Oscars for Roma, which was also nominated for Best Picture. It was viewed as the favorite to win, but ultimately lost out to the controversial Green Book. They also have Martin Scorsese's very expensive gangster drama The Irishman set to arrive later this year.

Should Steven Spielberg get his way, Netflix would then have to grant a month-long theatrical release to any movie they want to see up for awards before releasing it on their streaming service. That would certainly serve to upset their subscriber base. Ben Affleck, who stars in the streamer's upcoming action flick Triple Frontier, spoke on Today about the recent drama and didn't seem to see the changing tide as an issue.

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"I think what he was saying was he believes there should be a robust theatrical release for movies. It's not so much a debate about one company or another as like how long should a movie be in theaters to be considered 'a movie' versus television. And those lines are getting blurred. I'm sure you guys see it on the show, people are consuming on their phones, and on the internet, and on the TV. The business is changing. The movie business has changed a lot over time."

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. Not only has Netflix been producing more award-worthy movies in recent years, but they were also the first non-studio to join the MPAA, meaning that they've further legitimized themselves within the Hollywood landscape. In many ways, it's the old guard versus the new guard. Feel free to check out the response from the Netflix Film Twitter account below.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott