As if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wasn’t already having enough problems satisfying everyone with its evolving Oscars rules, now it appears to be getting unwanted attention from the Department of Justice.
Variety reports that the Justice Department sent the academy a warning about potential rules changes that would limit the Oscar eligibility of Netflix and other streamers.
The report quotes a March 21 letter from Makan Delrahim, chief of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, to AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson expressing concern that new rules might be written “in a way that tends to suppress competition.”
Delrahim is quoted writing in the letter: “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 report quotes a spokesperson for the academy saying: “We’ve received a letter from the Dept. of Justice and have responded accordingly. The Academy’s Board of Governors will meet on April 23 for its annual awards rules meeting, where all branches submit possible updates for consideration.”
Variety adds: “The letter came in response to reports that Steven Spielberg, an Academy board member, was planning to push for rules changes to Oscars eligibility, restricting movies that debut on Netflix and other streaming services around the same time that they show in theaters. Netflix made a big splash at the Oscars this year, as the movie ‘Roma’ won best director, best foreign language film and best cinematography.”