April 2, 2019
The Justice Department reportedly has contacted the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — the organization that runs the Academy Awards — about potential new rules that would restrict original movies distributed via streaming video channels (i.e. Netflix) from awards consideration.
First reported by Variety, DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim March 21 sent a letter to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson saying any new rules put in place to restrict streaming video services from consideration could be viewed as anticompetitive.
“In the event that the academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns,” Delrahim wrote, as reported by Variety.
At issue are select original movies from Netflix, which the streaming pioneer submits for awards (including Best Picture) without a traditional 90-day theatrical release.
Netflix’s Roma was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning three, including Best Director, but losing Best Picture to Green Book.
The Oscar organization, in a media statement, confirmed receiving correspondence from the DOJ and responding accordingly.
“The Academy’s Board of Governors will meet on April 23 for its annual awards rules meeting, where all branches submit possible updates for consideration,” a representative from the Academy said in a media statement.
Delrahim previously tried unsuccessfully to quash AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which led to the formation of WarnerMedia.