Netflix Movies Are Seeking Oscar Eligibility with New Theater Deal

     October 5, 2016


Netflix has become one of the most exciting studios of the moment with its continuing efforts to make original TV shows and movies. The streaming platform has already earned itself Emmys and Golden Globes for the former, but the main thing that’s kept their films out of the Oscar race is the theatrical rule. But, as announced this week, Netflix is tackling that issue head one.

According to the official guidelines from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences, a film is eligible for Oscar consideration if it screens in “a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County” for “at least seven consecutive days, during which period screenings must occur at least three times daily, with at least one screening beginning between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily.”


Image via TIFF

This varies depending on the category. For instance, Best Documentary hopefuls must screen in both New York and L.A. theaters, while Foreign Films can merely offer a streaming option. But for a studio like Netflix, which has been focused entirely on streaming, this has been a major hurdle.

However, The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix has struck a deal with iPic Entertainment, a luxury theater chain, that will see Netflix films screened in iPic theaters in NYC and L.A. at the same time as their streaming premieres. The pact also leaves an option to expand the release. It’s hard to imagine many Netflix subscribers buying tickets to see a Netflix movie in theaters, but this means that the films that screen in this manner are now eligible for Oscar consideration.

So far, the deal affects 10 films, including The Siege of Jadotville with Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan (in theaters October 7th) and the Christopher Guest mockumentary Mascots (October 13th). Other Netflix original movies coming down the line are David Ayer’s Bright, Bong-joo ho’s Okja, and the horror-comedy Little Evil.

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said of the deal, “What defines a movie being a movie used to be it being on a theater. I think that’s a dying generational definition.” The head of the National Association of Theater Owners, however, isn’t so enthused. John Fithian said in a statement, via Variety:

We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry’s success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between film makers, distributors and exhibitors.

So bottom line: would you pay to see a Netflix movie in theaters?


Image via Netflix

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