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Director Rob Marshall: 'I am with Steven Spielberg' on blocking streaming films from Oscar

Published on 15 May 2019 / In Film & Animation

"Mary Poppins Returns" director Rob Marshall says "I'm with Steven Spielberg" in supporting rule changes that could block Netflix films from Oscars eligibility.
Spielberg is reportedly supporting a revised film academy regulation at an upcoming meeting of the organization's board of governors that would disqualify Netflix from the Oscars, or at least how the streaming giant currently operates during awards season.
Netflix nearly succeeded in getting its first best picture Oscar for Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" at last week's Academy Awards. It lost to "Green Book," but the streaming service is likely to step up its awards game even more with Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," coming out in the fall.
Netflix operates somewhat outside of the industry - not reporting box office gross, for example - while also infiltrating its most important institutions, like the Oscars and the Motion Picture Association of America.
Marshall says he joins Spielberg in worrying about what that will mean for the future of movies.
"I have to say that I am with Steven Spielberg on that. I really am. I really feel it's important. You know, this is an art form created specifically for the big screen. And there are incredible movies that are made for the small screen and that's fine too. But I think when you are working to create a film – a film like 'Mary Poppins Returns' – it's thrilling to see it on the big screen. And then of course to revisit it again on a smaller screen is wonderful. But it's built for that event and that kind of experience," Marshall said on Monday (4 MARCH) while promoting the home video release of "Mary Poppins Returns." "So I feel that what he's expressing is 100 percent right. And yes it would be nice to have it for more than a two-week run to really give it – to let people see it. I mean, for instance, 'Roma' is one of those films where you actually want to see it on a big screen. There's not a lot of close-up of work. It's vast and beautiful. The cinematography is amazing. Alfonso is an incredible director. And you want to take it in on that kind of scope."
Some see Spielberg's position as wrong-minded, especially when it comes to the Academy Awards, which requires a theatrical run to be eligible for an award.
Many online have pointed out the hypocrisy that the organization allows members to watch films on DVD screeners before voting.
Marshall says he's not sure how long a film should be in theatres only before becoming eligible.
"I don't know what the exact timeline would be. I just know that it needs that time for people to actually see it in the theatre. Not just sort of like a perfunctory whatever this many weeks. It has to be something that actually people can come, see the film the way it was meant to be seen," he said.

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