Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg set the internet on fire with remarks he made during a recent interview.
While on the promotional rounds for his forthcoming film Ready Player One, Spielberg spoke with ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar about his skepticism over the place of streaming platforms within the film industry. Spielberg stated, “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. If it’s a good show, you deserve an Emmy. But not an Oscar.” He added, “I don’t believe that films that are given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify for Academy Award nominations.” These statements, while out of touch with today’s viewer, are not that surprising given Spielberg’s tendency for more traditional filmmaking and his involvement in preserving Hollywood’s legacy.
Spielberg added more fuel to the fire by mentioning the TV Renaissance’s threat to theatrical filmmaking. He stated, “Television is thriving with quality and heart. But it poses a clear and present danger to filmgoers.” He argued that the directing, acting and writing is much better on television than in film, where studios favor huge, branded tentpole films over smaller, narrative-focused projects.
Despite his feelings about television and streaming’s threat to theatrical releases, Spielberg’s directorial career is still booming. Besides last year’s Oscar-nominated The Post and the release of Ready Player One, he is gearing up to film the next Indiana Jones installment, followed by a remake of West Side Story and a reboot of Amazing Stories for Apple.
Given Spielberg’s tendency for innovation in the film (digital cameras, DVD commentary, et cetera), his take on the public’s changing viewing habits comes off as elitist and paranoid. Hopefully, Spielberg will see that narrative-driven films—whether theatrical or streaming releases—are worthy of whatever accolades they earn.
Watch Spielberg’s divisive interview below.