No new rules targeting Netflix at Oscars, Academy says

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

No rules will be introduced targeting the eligibility of Netflix films at the Oscars, the Academy has said.

The streaming giant had faced opposition from critics who argue its business model represents an existential threat to physical movie theatres.

Steven Spielberg, one of the most influential figures in Hollywood, suggested Netflix productions should be eligible at the Emmys, which recognise excellence in television.

However, following a meeting of its board of governors, the Academy has said it voted to maintain rule two, which dictates eligibility at the Oscars.

It states that films require no more than a one-week run at a theatre in Los Angeles County to be eligible for the 92nd Academy Awards.

There are fears that Netflix’s home-streaming business model is a threat to cinemas (Netflix/PA)

Academy president John Bailey said: “We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions.

“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.”

Director Steven Spielberg has been critical of Netflix, suggesting its productions should not be eligible at the Oscars (Ian West/PA)

The 54-person board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences met for its annual April rules meeting on Tuesday.

The Netflix issue had been brought to the forefront following the streaming giant’s performance at the 91st Oscars in February, where its black-and-white epic, Roma, was nominated for 10 awards, including best picture.

It won three.

Netflix is likely to have another contender next year, in the form of Martin Scorsese’s gangster film The Irishman.

At the meeting, the Academy introduced a raft of new rules. It said the foreign language film category – won by Roma in February – is to be renamed to international feature film.

Alfonso Cuaron with his Best Director, Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography Oscars for Roma in the press room at the 91st Academy Awards (Alberto Rodriguez/PA)

Explaining the decision, Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee, said: “We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community.

“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.”

The category name change does not change any existing category rules, the submission process, or eligibility requirements, the Academy added.

The shortlist for international feature film is expanding to ten films. And in the makeup and hairstyling category, the number of nominated films is increasing from three to five, and the shortlist is increasing from seven to 10.

In the short film categories, animated and live action short films now have the option to qualify theatrically in either the City Of New York or Los Angeles County to be eligible for submission.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on Sunday February 9 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.