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On April 23, when the Academy holds the next meeting for its Board of Governors, it will confront the future: What about the streamers? The Academy tabled the long-debated question at last month’s meeting, but now it’s expected to determine if Oscar rule changes are needed for Netflix, Apple, Disney+, and other streaming sites.
Steven Spielberg, who represents the directors branch, is a firm believer in making a substantial theatrical release an eligibility requirement. Since 2012, the Academy has demanded a one-week qualifying run in a “commercial theater” to be Oscar eligible; documentaries must be reviewed in New York or L.A. Spielberg may advocate to make day-and-date releases unacceptable — but the numbers may not be on Spielberg’s side.
54-member - Board - Governors - People - Documentary
The 54-member Board of Governors is packed with Netflix-friendly people, from the documentary and craft reps and indie producer Albert Berger to Participant’s David Linde and Christina Kounelias (“Green Book” and “Roma”), director Kimberly Peirce, and ex-Warner Bros. distribution executive Dan Fellman, who consults for Netflix. Even Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley, who has competed fiercely with Netflix, is now nestled at Disney with its coming OTT platform.
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Vote - Academy - Members - Rules - Runs
However, the swing vote may belong to Academy members who feel that changing the rules around qualifying runs would be a rollback with the capacity to seriously damage independent films. After all, Roadside Attractions opened both “Arbitrage” and “Margin Call” day and date, and qualified them for Oscars.
“If they try to do that, it would be punitive,” said one production company marketer. “These rules have existed for a decade. A rule change would be against Netflix, while IFC and Roadside have been releasing movies day-and-date for years. Netflix hasn’t broken any rules. It’s such a resource for world-class filmmakers. You can’t change day and date...
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