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DOJ weighs in on Netflix, Oscars debate

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Published on April 3, 2019 - Duration: 02:18s

DOJ weighs in on Netflix, Oscars debate

The U.S. Department of Justice has reportedly weighed in on a contentious debate in Hollywood over whether Netflix movies should be eligible for Academy Awards.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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DOJ weighs in on Netflix, Oscars debate

There's a contentious debate in Hollywood over whether Netflix movies should be eligible for Academy Awards.

And an unexpected voice joined the argument: The U.S. Department of Justice.

In a letter, the DOJ warned the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that rules which might hurt streaming services' eligibility could run afoul of federal anti-trust laws.

The world of show-business is currently locked in a bitter battle between the silver screen and new streaming services.

Earlier this year at the 91st academy awards, Netflix's Roma walked away with 3 Oscars and competed for best picture, which prompted show business icons such as steven spielberg to push back, and stand up, for the classic movie theater experience.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) STEVEN SPIELBERG, DIRECTOR, SAYING: "My entire life has been spent trying to give audiences something in a large, large forum i love the whole feeling of social interaction outside.

You leave your house, you park your car, you go somewhere.

Those are the kinds of audiences I like to talk to." Spielberg has said the small-screen nature of the Netflix experience means its content belongs in the made-for-tv category, and should be considered eligible for the Emmys.

Current oscar rules require films have a theatrical release, and be screened somewhere in la county.

Netflix movies such as Roma often have simultaneous theatrical and digital releases.

Spielberg and others are reportedly expected to push for rules that would require award-eligible films to play in theaters before they appear anywhere else.

Effectively forcing Netflix to take a theater-first route if it wants a golden statue.

And that's where the Justice Department weighed in.

The Feds warned if a rule change is meant to exclude a streaming service, and that exclusion hurts the service's revenues, it could be seen as anti-competitive.

An Academy spokesperson said it had received the letter and that any rule changes would be considered at a meeting in late april.

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