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Steven Spielberg was demonised for his comments on Netflix: John Bailey

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Mumbai, 27 May, 2019: Academy president John Bailey believes Steven Spielberg was “misrepresented” in his comments that streaming films don’t qualify for Oscars.

According to reports, Spielberg had said once “you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie” and argued that if it’s good, it deserves an Emmy and not Oscars. 

When asked, if veteran filmmakers are insecure of the digital medium such as the Netflix, Bailey, who was re-elected as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), said Spielberg’s comments were inaccurately presented.

“As a president, I have to be very careful about what I say in public because I just can’t express my own opinion. I can say this because Steven is a governor in the director’s branch that he was misrepresented.” 

Bailey, who was interacting with the media on Sunday here, blamed Hollywood publications for the misinformation. 

“He was demonised for what he said and it was not completely accurate. There’s a lot of misinformation… There’s no point in singling out a Steven Spielberg or a Chris Nolan or a Ted Sarandos (Chief Content Officer at Netflix) on Netflix. We are all filmmakers and we will find a way out.” 

Spielberg’s comments had sparked a debate in Hollywood about whether movies distrusted by Netflix with a limited theatrical release deserve Oscar recognition. 

Bailey, an choreographer-director, said there is a “streaming revolution” happening with Hulu, Amazon, Netlfix and it is going to get bigger. 

“Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros are starting their internal streaming services, which is going to get very difficult for Netflix. That’s why Netflix is creating more original content because they are going to lose access to Hollywood feature films. 

“The Academy has been thrust into this discussion… The Academy has decided that we are in the middle of a transition about what is a movie. Can it be streaming or does it have to play in cinema halls? 

“There are partisans on both the sides and there are some, who are ambivalent. We can’t decide because there are drawbacks and virtues for both. Does one exclude the other and if not then how do you define it?” 

Bailey said the board of governors did a good thing by not changing the rules this year. 

“There was a lot of pressure. But this was not the year to make changes, especially when the studios are changing. We will see where we are a year or two from now. Netflix will be different. We surely know Disney and Paramount will be different.

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