A week ago a report went up that kicked off days of conversation, arguments and more. That report at Indiewire dealt with filmmaker Steven Spielberg and how, in the wake of Netflix’s “Roma” winning three Oscars this year, Spielberg was leading the charge at the next meeting of AMPAS’ Board of Governors to effectively bar streaming services from competing at the Academy Awards.
Heaps of people weighed in, including various filmmakers, but now someone else has stepped forward to discuss it – Spielberg’s old Dreamworks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg. Katzenberg was speaking at a panel at SXSW this week and decided to put an end to the talk, saying the initial reports were taken completely out of context according to THR.
Specifically, the initial article included a quote from a spokesperson for Spielberg’s production company Amblin who said: “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation. He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”
Katzenberg says this is what’s wrong: “I talked to Steven about this yesterday. I asked him very specifically. He said, ‘I absolutely did not say that.’… What happened is a journalist was onto a story about this and had heard a rumor about Steven. They called a spokesperson to get a comment and honestly, just twisted it around. One, Steven didn’t say that, and two, he is not going to the Academy in April with some sort of plan. But he has not opined at all, nor has he aligned with some specific thing. [Spielberg] knows there is a realignment coming and he wants everyone to win and prosper.”
Spielberg himself has been quoted more than once as expressing concerns about the demise of the ‘theatrical experience’ and last year straight up told ITV News he thinks streaming films are telemovies and films just given token qualifications shouldn’t compete for Oscars. For now, it looks like until either details from the Board of Governor’s meeting next month leak out, or Spielberg himself goes on the record discussing the issue of streaming vs. cinema, there’s nothing much more to add.