Why it matters: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its annual rules meeting on Tuesday. One of the more high profile issues being considered was whether or not movies from streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu should be eligible for Hollywood’s top prize.
The Academy voted to keep the current eligibility requirements unchanged. The ruling means that feature-length films produced exclusively for streaming services can still win Oscars as long as the movie is screened in a Los Angeles theater for at least a week.
“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” said Academy President John Bailey in the Academy’s official statement. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration.”
The decision was a win for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others. Despite declined viewership in the awards show in 2018 (rebounding this year), Oscar nominations positively influence ticket sales. From a streaming standpoint, it means more views and possibly more subscriptions to view content only available through the service.
"The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to maintain Rule Two, Eligibility for the 92nd Oscars."
The ruling was a blow to Hollywood elites like Academy board member Steven Spielberg and others who believe that streaming movies do not belong at The Show. Spielberg feels Netflix and others are only worthy of Emmys, not Oscars, and wanted them banned or at least have longer theatrical screening requirements. However, the US Department of Justice warned the Academy earlier this month that such a move could potentially violate the Sherman Act resulting in anti-trust lawsuits.
Hope is not lost for Hollywood moguls who turn their noses up at streaming entertainment. There is always next year’s rules meeting.
“We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues,” said Bailey.
Until then Netflix and others can continue enjoying the benefits of attending the biggest awards show in Tinsel Town.