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“We have noted that the reference to ‘foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” said Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the international feature film committee.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.”