At the Cinema Audio Society's Awards, director Steven Spielberg made pointed comments against streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. This isn't the first time the director has vented his feelings about the services.
While accepting a Filmmaker Award, Spielberg said:
"I love television. I love the opportunity. Some of the greatest writing being done today is for television, some of the best directing for television, some of the best performances [are] on television today.
"The sound is better in homes more than it ever has been in history but there's nothing like going to a big dark theater with people you've never met before and having the experience wash over you. That's something we all truly believe in."
It's hard to not write him off as someone out of touch with modern life.
Breaking News: Senior Citizen complains about new technology he doesn't understand https://t.co/3tandqL85Q— theVoiceofReason (@theVoiceofReason)1550526493.0
@Variety https://t.co/5XjEP4BXWB— August (@August)1550502922.0
@Variety @DanielRPK Awful stance by Spielberg. The best take on streaming vs. theaters came from Alfonso Cuarón las… https://t.co/G0I4tiIaPy— Jeff D Lowe (@Jeff D Lowe)1550441594.0
Not the fact that they're making shitty movies. Make a decent movie and ill go to the theater. I go like once a yea… https://t.co/wAgns6Is8V— UpLateNerd (@UpLateNerd)1550530183.0
Spielberg's views have never been a secret. He's often railed against streaming content being put in the same category as theatrical films.
In an interview with ITV News almost a year ago, the director said,
"Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie. You certainly, if it's a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar.
"I don't believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination."
There is a point to be made about a movie theater experience vs an at home experience.
I’m with Sir Stevie 🎥 🍿 https://t.co/o1CYfc6kgi— Marc Vibbert (@Marc Vibbert)1550494316.0
@verge People please continue to see movies in the theater!🎬— Libby's Movie (@Libby's Movie)1550539790.0
Spielberg is right that the theater is the best viewing experience for movies. When it comes to streaming, I advoca… https://t.co/3rhllHOBpz— Aaron Sarnecky (@Aaron Sarnecky)1550543216.0
However, this discussion has resurfaced after the 'Netflix Original' film Roma was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including for "Best Picture" and "Best Director". The film is the top pick in both categories.
This brings up what Spielberg is talking about. Roma was a personal, passion project, that happened to get funding and distribution by Netflix. It met the minimum requirements to be considered for an Academy Award.
So does it belong on that list?
To many, the at-home experience is preferable in many ways to a theater.
I smile when I see @netflix promoting, “In Theaters and streaming on Netflix now!” ... I was once told by a Studio… https://t.co/7Drr8C894d— Frank Buckner (@Frank Buckner)1550273620.0
@BroCamDad72 It’s why I only go to theaters with reserved seating. Tix are $16 so it weeds out cheap rude ppl— Wes Allred (@Wes Allred)1550500562.0
@nickeesota @Variety My wife and I used to go to the movies every weekend for "date night." The last two years, in… https://t.co/T43wXQMYA2— Eddie ⅯcClintock (@Eddie ⅯcClintock)1550442529.0
@TheThing444 @Variety Actually, the movie studios are at fault. Theaters don't make any money off of ticket sales f… https://t.co/muzcQSp2zc— eLLe Cee (@eLLe Cee)1550431194.0
While his opinion on streaming vs theater makes sense considering it's how he made his career, and spends his days, it becomes strange when you compare it to how he talks about the movie industry as a whole.
In a 2013 panel, Spielberg said,
"You're at the point right now where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a real shot at the brass ring than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal — and even maybe historical — projects that may get lost in the shuffle…"
Spielberg was on that panel with George Lucas, who potentially prophesized the very situation that is now upsetting his friend.
"It's a mess. It's total chaos. But out of that chaos will come some really amazing things.
"And right now there are amazing opportunities for young people coming into the industry to say, 'Hey, I think I'm going to do this and there's nobody to stop me.'"
The Mexican film Roma deservedly nabbed an impressive 10 nominations for this year's Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.
Unfortunately, not everyone involved in the film will be able to celebrate the film's accolades at the Oscars.
Mexican actor Jorge Antonio Guerrero Martínez, who stars in the Alfonso Cuarón film as Fermin in the highly acclaimed movie about a working-class housekeeper's relationship with her surrogate family, will not be able to attend the awards ceremony due to U.S. officials denying him a visa.
@SenToomey @SenBobCasey #Trump 1. AWFUL 'Roma' Actor Jorge Antonio Guerrero Martinez Denied U.S. Visa to Attend Osc… https://t.co/8xEK88S4AD— Ursula1781 (@Ursula1781)1548550540.0
Guerrero said he was also unable to obtain a visa for screenings and other industry events taking place in the U.S., even after providing a letter submitted by one of Roma's producers proving he had official invitations, according to Mexican lifestyle magazine Quien,
"Specifically, I took a letter and they refused to read it."
"On my second attempt, they said I was going to go work, and I said that, no, I had been invited."
"I tried giving it to the consul, they grabbed the paper and literally just returned my passport through the teller window. If they don't want to read it, then it's going to be very difficult."
Speculations about racism began to surface, given this wasn't the first time his request for a visa fell through. The actor, who also starred in Narcos: Mexico, was denied a visa last year when he applied to enter the U.S. as a tourist.
Despite rumors of racism barring him from entering the country, he told Mexican daily El Universal that he didn't feel "offended, angry or victimized," because he was aware of other Mexicans experiencing the same situation.
However, plenty of people expressed their frustrations.
This is wrong on so many levels. “They refused to read it.” https://t.co/DtRi1Wt5RT— Darryl Wharton-Rigby (@Darryl Wharton-Rigby)1548661890.0
I feel safer don't you. Actors are scary dangerous people. "Alfonso Cuarón’s 1970s drama “Roma” is a critical dar… https://t.co/Zyexy42fHb— ImmgtnRightsActivist (@ImmgtnRightsActivist)1548463216.0
Talk about racial profiling. If he had been a tall, white, blue-eyed Mexican - the type that proliferate in Mexican… https://t.co/x1rOQuckcf— KernCFC (@KernCFC)1548635745.0
Totally...disgusting! ENOUGH of the FASCIST Russian run Mob in the White House. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE HAD IT.. the m… https://t.co/uLqfD2iugX— Carol Miles (@Carol Miles)1548607581.0
Wishful thinking for a different kind of Hollywood ending.
I hope he wins and whomever accepts for him. clowns the hell out of Trump. https://t.co/iBELmh2V3i— David Scott Anderson (@David Scott Anderson)1548559555.0
Jorge Antonio Guerrero Martinez, this is a reflection of our failure, not your value. You deserve to be honored for… https://t.co/xdmOrArQgC— Katie Anthony (@Katie Anthony)1548568231.0
@KhaledBeydoun This pains me. America used to be an active player in the world community, but we are drawing back from participation.— marc isaac potter (@marc isaac potter)1548527737.0
What do actors smuggle in?
This is ridiculous, c'mon? Are we concerned that he will be smuggling drugs in his bow tie?!!🤔🤪 https://t.co/2UkwsWyu9S— Bob M (@Bob M)1548533345.0
This is pure bullshit unless he’s bringing “drugs and crime” to America. https://t.co/mBGy2fvqlM— Caipo (@Caipo)1548546393.0
😡I am so sick and tired of all this damn prejudice and bigotry displayed by the current administration! #Roma… https://t.co/CUIdYvqESD— Kathy Horn (@Kathy Horn)1548530449.0
What's the point of celebrating movies featuring various cultures if the ones who made it are not welcome to the country?
The threat of indigenous beauty, of telling real stories and not Eurocentric narratives. An actor who only wishes t… https://t.co/LHXlY7c21C— Forget Winnetou Film (@Forget Winnetou Film)1548568002.0
Blind sweeping backhand to common civility by isolationist U.S. Government. https://t.co/vu3oHvy45Q— Nancy Hill (@Nancy Hill)1548699197.0
Guerrero isn't giving up. He hopes to finally receive access into the country by the time the Oscars take place at the end of February.
"I hope that this can be resolved in the best way. And I insist that if I don't go, I'll still be thrilled. It's 10 nominations, darn it."
"This doesn't happen every year!"
He additionally told Quien:
"If we could find a way for a person from the consulate or embassy to read these letters, they could understand the artistic need I have and the cultural exchange that's happening between two nations."
It would be a huge disappointment for him to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity due to a stricter immigration policy that had been Trump's sticking point that inevitably contributed to the partial government shutdown.