The Justice Department’s antitrust division warned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last month against changing its rules to make it harder for movies produced by Netflix and other streaming companies to compete in the Oscars, according to a report in Variety. The warning comes after reports that Steven Spielberg wanted to change Oscar eligibility rules to limit Netflix and other streaming services from debuting movies online around the same time they show in theaters, Variety reported.
In a March 21 letter to the Academy, Department of Justice Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim wrote that the Academy could find itself in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act if it “adopts a new rule to exclude certain types of films, such as films distributed via online streaming services, from eligibility for the Oscars, and that exclusion tends to diminish the excluded films’ sales,” Variety reported.
The letter comes after Netflix’s “Roma” won Oscars this year for best director, best cinematography and best foreign-language film. The film was rolled out to movie theaters on Nov. 21, 2018, before it was made available via streaming on Dec. 14.