Oscars Group Rejects Proposed Ban on Netflix Movies

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors  April 24 announced it would continue to welcome movie nominations from streaming services such as Netflix.

The organization in charge of the annual Academy Awards left eligibility requirements for feature films unchanged, which means any submission must have a minimum one-week theatrical release in Los Angeles County to be considered.

Netflix did just that for last year’s nominee Roma, which was released in indie theaters for several weeks ahead of its global streaming debut. Most major exhibitors continue to boycott Netflix movies over its anti-theatrical window distribution strategy.

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The board had considered proposals from industry groups, included veteran director Steven Spielberg that called for submissions to have a minimum four-week theatrical run.

“We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions,” Academy President John Bailey said in an April 23 statement. “Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues.”

No mention was made whether possible involvement by the Department of Justice played a role in maintaining the status quo.

DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim in March 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.

Separately, the Academy voted to change the “foreign-language film” category name to“international feature film.”

“We have noted that the reference to ‘foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the international feature film committee. “We believe that international feature film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”


DOJ Puts Oscars on Notice Regarding Streaming Video

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.

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“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.






Ownzones Connect Now Supports ACES

Ownzones Entertainment Technologies Oct. 4 announced that Ownzones Connect, the cloud-based solution that helps content providers manage, deliver and monetize video, now supports the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES).

The announcement comes less than a month after Ownzones Connect was named by Netflix as the only cloud-native solution in its Post Technology Alliance, a program for manufacturers whose products serve the needs of the post-production community through innovation and support.

ACES, an open-source color-management standard developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is quickly becoming the gold standard for the production and postproduction industries, according to a news release from Ownzones Entertainment Technologies, an over-the-top video distribution and media company. Capable of encoding every color visible to the human eye, ACES simplifies workflows and maintains a consistent color experience across the life cycle of a film or television series, from image capture through editing, visual effects, mastering, distribution and archiving.

“The industry’s move toward ACES will result in a fully encompassing color accurate workflow and seamless interchange of high-quality motion picture images regardless of the source,” said Ownzones CEO Dan Goman. “Ownzones is uniquely positioned to serve media companies looking to adopt ACES — as well as those that have already adopted it and want a more advanced implementation. Supporting ACES positions Ownzones cloud technology to better support upstream production processes as well as start to workflow around dailies, rough cuts, and other pre-mastered files.”

Ownzones Connect, an on-demand, software-as-a-service (SaaS) video supply-chain platform hosted in the cloud through Amazon Web Services, provides content owners and post-production facilities with a fast and inexpensive cloud solution for processing and transferring video to any major streaming or broadcasting platform.

Ownzones Connect enables transcoding video content up to 35 times faster and can reduce costs by as much as 90%, Ownzones Entertainment Technologies claims. It also supports the SMPTE Interoperable Master Format (IMF), likely to become the industry standard for storing and transferring digital video files.

Ownzones will showcase its new technology at the SMPTE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, taking place Oct. 22-25 at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles.