DOJ Threatens Academy Over Oscar Ban for Streamers Like Netflix & Amazon

In a report from Variety, it appears the U.S. Government has gotten involved in potential rule changes that would ban streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu from winning an Oscar. In a letter obtained by Variety, DOJ’s Antitrust Division wrote to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying that banning streaming services “may raise antitrust concerns.”

The letter continues: “Accordingly, agreements among competitors to exclude new competitors can violate the antitrust laws when their purpose or effect is to impede competition by goods or services that consumers purchase and enjoy but which threaten the profits of incumbent firms.”

Last month, it was shared that legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg is planning to put up a fight against streaming movies being eligible for the Academy Awards. He was expected to share his concerns at an upcoming Academy Board Meeting and possibly recommend that Netflix films only be eligible for the Emmy Awards, rather than the Oscars (which he has spoken about in the past).

This year, Netflix picked up four Academy Award wins — Three for Roma (Cinematography, Foreign Language Film, and Director) and one for Period. End of Sentence (Documentary Short). The former which is Written, Directed, and Produced by Alfonso Cuarón earned 10 nominations including Best Picture, but the film fell short with Green Book taking home the Best Picture award.

It has been rumored that Netflix spent almost $50MM on their Oscar campaign for Roma. The service will be releasing The Irishman by Martin Scorsese starring Robert De Niro, Jose Pesci, Al Pacino, and a supporting cast of Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, and Ray Romano. The film is already earning Oscar buzz, which will keep this controversy relevant through the next awards season. While it will appear in select theaters, the film will be released directly on Netflix this fall.