"Mudbound" followed all the guidelines laid down by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for consideration and scored four Oscar nominations, but Steven Spielberg doesn't think it deserved any.
The "Ready Player One" takes issue with films produced for streaming services like Netflix competing with the more traditional theatrical films, even if those movies did get limited theatrical runs to qualify. He called streamers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon a "clear and present danger to filmgoers," in an interview with ITV.
According to Spielberg, these projects just aren't theatrical films. "Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie," he said. "You certainly could, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar."
The director went on to say, "Fewer and fewer filmmakers are going to struggle to raise money, or to compete at Sundance and possibly get one of the specialty labels to release their films theatrically. And more of them are going to let the SVOD [Streaming Video On-Demand] businesses finance their films, maybe with the promise of a slight, one-week theatrical window to qualify them for awards."
Spielberg did lay much of the responsibility for this shift in the filmmaking process at the feet of the studios, who have become increasingly hesitant to bankroll a smaller film in favor of the next chapter in their blockbuster franchise, or tired remakes of familiar properties they already own.
"Those smaller films that studios used to make routinely are now going to Amazon, Hulu or Netflix," Spielberg said. And while he conceded that television is creating a higher quality of art than at any time in its history, it's still television and so it should look to Emmy for its accolades, not Oscar.