DOJ Warns Academy About Excluding Streaming Services From Oscars

Limiting the eligibility of Netflix could raise antitrust concerns and violate competition law.

 Lady Gaga with an Oscar. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Lady Gaga with an Oscar. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Steven Spielberg isn’t going to like this.

The director, who campaigned to ban Netflix from the Oscars, likely won’t be pleased with the news the Department of Justice has sent the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a letter warning it against excluding streaming services from the Oscars.

So why exactly is the DOJ concerned about the Academy possibly changing the eligibility requirements for the awards?

“In the event that the Academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns,” the letter read, according to Variety. 

The DOJ was also worried the proposed rules could possibly be written “in a way that tends to suppress competition” which would be a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.

“If the Academy 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, that rule could therefore violate Section 1,” according to the DOJ.

Roma, which debuted on Netflix, won Oscars for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. It lost out on Best Picture to Green Book.

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