Academy Votes to Keep Streaming Services Eligible for Oscar Awards

With so much top-tier talent opting to produce original works of film and television for streaming services, it’s no wonder than names like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are now regularly thrown around during Oscar season. Some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Martin Scorsese have all lent their names and talent to various streaming originals in the last few years.

Still, there has been significant resistance to allowing films or television shows produced exclusively for streaming services to be eligible for major industry awards. The Cannes Film Festival last year changed its rules in order to exclude entries which did not have a full French theatrical run, denying most streaming service entries in the future. Luckily for Netflix and the other streaming giants, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just voted not to change its rules, allowing streaming services to remain eligible for Oscar Awards if its films remain in theatrical run for just seven days.

The vote was called due to longstanding rules and debates at the Academy concerning the lengths films must play on big screens in theaters before being eligible for an award. Steven Spielberg himself argued that only those films which are given cinema runs should be eligible, while films that go directly to small screens (or streaming services) should remain the domain of the Emmys.

Despite Spielberg’s objections, the board voted to allow the current rules to stand, meaning a film has to be in theatres for just a week. Netflix and others are testing some of their films in short theatrical runs, seemingly for the sole reason of pleasing cinema and film industry stalwarts who are still resistant to the streaming revolution. It’s true there’s nothing quite like the big screen film experience, but there are many people who for various reasons can’t go to movie theaters to see new releases. Why resist opening up a new customer base?