Michael Douglas blames Steven Spielberg for Best Actor Cannes defeat

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
US actor Michael Douglas poses on May 21, 2013 during a photocall for the film "Behind the Candelabra" presented in Competition at the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Cannes, one of the world's top film festivals, opened on May 15 and will climax on May 26 with awards selected by a jury headed this year by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Douglas has blamed Steven Spielberg as the reason why he didn’t win the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance in 2013’s Behind The Candelabra.

Spielberg was the jury president in the same year when Steve Soderbergh’s biopic of famed pianist Liberace was in competition. Douglas portrayed Liberace, and received critical acclaim for doing so.

However, while Behind The Candelabra was released in theaters in the United Kingdom and internationally, it was a HBO film that only aired in the US on the cable channel.

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Spielberg has made his disdain for Netflix movies very clear, and Douglas believes the legendary director has the same feelings for television movies, too.

“The word was I was the favorite for the best actor award,” Douglas explained to his Traffic co-star Benicio Del Toro for Variety’s Actor On Actor interview series. 

“[Spielberg] put the kibosh on that, because it was an HBO film. So when I now see this argument and beef about Showtime or Netflix, in this case, doing feature films, I think they’ve got to get this resolved.”

Michael Douglas as Liberace in Behind The Candelabra

It has long been alleged that Soderbergh only approached HBO about making Behind The Candelabra because major Hollywood studios wouldn’t go near the biopic due to the homosexual relationship it depicts between Liberace and Scott Thorson, who is portrayed by Matt Damon.

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But while Behind The Candelabra wasn’t in contention for Oscars and whatnot, it still cleaned up at the television awards, with Douglas claiming the Best Actor gongs at that year’s Emmy and Golden Globes awards.

Meanwhile, Spielberg continues to rally against movies from Netflix and other streaming sites, as he looks to keep audiences still going to cinemas rather than sitting at home and watching them on television instead.