Judge films on artistic merit: Netflix's Oscar stance

The film is also required to have a run of at least seven consecutive days at the theatres.

Judge films on artistic merit: Netflix's Oscar stance

Los Angeles: Movies must be judged on artistic merit, and not windowing strategy, said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings amidst an ongoing debate on whether films on streaming services deserve a chance at the Oscars.

Hastings spoke about it at a Netflix Labs event here when asked if the streaming service would consider prioritising theatrical experience to a greater degree than it did for "Roma".

"I'd like to take it case by case. Today, the rules are the rules that they are, and we comply fully with those rules. And I think all of you here would say that 'Roma' is an Oscar quality movie.

"We really believe films should be judged upon their artistic merit, not upon its windowing strategy," Hastings said.

By the rules, he meant the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' rule book which says that films which, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Oscars in any category.

Non-theatrical public exhibition or distribution includes, but is not limited to, broadcast and cable television, video on demand, DVD distribution and Internet transmission.

The film is also required to have a run of at least seven consecutive days at the theatres.

Alfonso Cuaron's Mexican drama "Roma" got a limited number of theatres for a three-week run before the film appeared on the service.

The film pocketed three Oscars this year, becoming the first Mexican feature to win the golden statuette for Best Foreign film. Cuaron took home the awards for cinematography and directing.

Hastings said that while "Roma" has got them to win at the 91st Academy Awards, they would like to continue "to win Oscars".

"It's great for the talent and shows," he added.

Ever since the black and white drama scored nominations, it sparked a debate on whether movies for streaming services be allowed to compete at big award ceremonies, traditionally meant for feature films which get full theatrical release.

There have been multiple reports claiming filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been planning to ask the Oscars' board of governors at their April meeting to vote for a new rule that would require an Oscar-qualifying movie to play for four weeks in theatres, thinning chances of films of streaming services to make the cut.

In a recent interview to IANS, Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke had said this doesn't quite suit "the ecosystem of this evolving business" and that a common ground would have to be found.


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