Point/Counterpoint: Should Netflix movies be considered for the Oscars?

Two DI columnists argue a topic recently brought to debate by Steven Spielberg.

March 12, 2019

Netflix is Oscar-worthy now

Nearly everyone you talk to has Netflix and has binged a series in one night. That being said, Netflix original movies are also household names and extremely accessible. Widely popular movies such as Birdbox, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and The Kissing Booth are all examples of Netflix movies becoming widely known and watched. While these movies and this platform are widely known, filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg claim these movies shouldn’t be considered for awards such as the Oscars.

While these movies might not have a box-office release or the same gross as blockbuster movies, there is no denying that Netflix movies are capable of making their way into the general consciousness and pop culture, and they are just as artistically and cinematically sound as their blockbuster counterparts. A box-office release has long been seen as a determining factor into whether a movie is good. Movies that are straight to DVD have corrupted our views on whether a movie without a cinema release can be good. However, with platforms such as Netflix and Hulu beginning to make strides in online releases, these standards need to be changed and looked at differently.

Netflix movies should be looked at the same way as any movie that has a box-office release. The platform in which you release a movie shouldn’t be taken into consideration when making the decision on whether a movie is Oscar-worthy. Netflix movies are just as cinematic and artistic as blockbuster movies, as seen in the aforementioned examples. They can have the same cultural and artistic impact as their counterparts. With all of this in mind, why aren’t Netflix movies winning awards?

The Academy needs time for any adjustments


This argument of what should be considered for an Academy Awards has long been in question, but with the recent critical success for streaming films such as Roma, it has been called into the spotlight by directors such as Steven Spielberg.

Netflix has created some high-grade content in recent years, but it has also created some films and creative ventures that didn’t receive the same high critical acclaim.

This year, Netflix submitted only three films for consideration for the Oscars. The films were made with highly famous directors and writers, such as the Coen brothers, but it also made quite a bit more films that it didn’t deem ready to submit for nominations. Netflix released more than 30 films in 2018.

With this high push-out rate for movies, it may be hard for all these films to have the necessary process to be considered by the Academy and be nominated. With having to choose certain movies over others, to have real theatrical releases, means streaming services such as Netflix will have to pick favorites to be played in theaters.

This sort of favoritism may create a pretty unhealthy competition with filmmakers and creatives. So it may be worth an investigation on this decision before any hasty decisions are made.

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