In a recent interview with ITV News, acclaimed film director Stephen Spielberg recently said that original films distributed by streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu should not be considered actual films and therefore not be able to be nominated for film awards. "Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie," he said, "You certainly, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar." Spielberg's comments come after the Netflix original film "Roma" won three Oscars at the last Academy Awards.
What Spielberg does not realize that is how certain groups of people benefit from original films being on streaming services that they can watch in the comfort of their own homes. For low-income individuals, services such as Netflix offer an affordable entertainment option for watching moves, as theater tickets have become extremely expensive over the years. Several disabled people can barely leave their own home, never mind make it to a movie theater.
Spielberg's comments also imply that the art of film is only valid when it is a big Hollywood production that makes millions of dollars. The art of film should not be limited to a single format, as there are several important stories to tell regardless if it gets a wide theatrical release. The quality of a film should not be measured in how it is presented, but in how it portrays its message and makes the audience feel
Why exactly does Spielberg care so much about this? Because films that originate on streaming platforms take money away from the theatrical film industry that has sustained Spielberg's career for decades. In the end, all that matters to Hollywood is how much money they make, and Spielberg's comments only accentuate that.
Film award events such as the Oscars should be open to nominating all types of film, regardless of how it was released. The root of elitism within the theatrical film industry needs to be deconstructed, and open its doors for the current wave of twenty-first-century expressions of art.