I guess those massive lobbying efforts and cash being spread around by the streaming giant is working out since its recipients are threatening people and organizations that are trying to stand in the streaming service’s way.
Justice Department Backs Netflix in Oscars Feud — But Is There Really an Antitrust Issue?
The Academy Awards has long been a national obsession, and occasionally, there’s controversy over winners, losers and the ground rules for competition. But until now, hardly anyone has suggested that the way the Oscars is run amounts to anti-competitive conduct rising to a violation of the nation’s antitrust laws. That ends now as Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, has outlined his concerns about eligibility rule changes in a letter to Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The March 21 letter, which was first reported by Variety and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, is certainly bold and audacious. A search of scholarly articles turns up absolutely nothing on the intersection of prestigious awards in an industry and antitrust law. Additionally, the DOJ appears to have a rather unique view of the Academy itself.
The DOJ letter comes on the heels of Feb. 24’s 91st Academy Awards, at which Netflix’s Roma was nominated for as many Oscars as any film and won three, including best director. Most top pundits expected Roma to win best picture, as well, an outcome that many industry observers feared would mark the beginning of the end of the theatrical moviegoing experience as we know it. Netflix, a streaming service that first and foremost aims to please its subscribers, refuses to adhere to the 90-day window of theatrical exclusivity demanded by the major theater owners, opting instead to release films for much shorter periods through independent theater chains.
A best picture Oscar win for a Netflix film, in spite of that controversial position, would have been widely seen as the Hollywood community condoning that, which is why, according to media reports, Steven Spielberg, the legendary filmmaker and a current representative of the directors branch on the Academy’s board of governors, was planning to call for the full board to implement, at its April 24 meeting, new rules that would lock out of Oscar competition films released in that manner, effectively knocking Netflix out of the Oscars game. Spielberg has since backed away from that position — and allied himself with a competing streaming service, Apple TV+.- Source