Department of Justice Issues Warning to Motion Picture Academy Over Oscars Rules

Apr 2, 2019  •  Post A Comment

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.”


  1. If the movie is Oscar worthy, why should it matter where it is shown first. It’s the movie that has the merits, not the venue.

    • But it is the venue that’s important.

      The Academy Awards (if they aren’t already) should be restricted to movies produced for theatrical release. That’s how they started and that is how they ought to be. There are numerous other awards ceremonies that exist for other venues.

      There’s nothing anti-competitive about the Academy Awards. No one is preventing Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or whoever from arranging theatrical releases for their films… as evidenced by the award-winning Roma. Not sure what kind of insane stretch of the imagination the DoJ used to justify this totally absurd intrusion… instead of applying themselves to something of far greater economic import to the citizens of this country.

      Like say the operations of the telecoms giant and their fight against net neutrality.

      • Net neutrality is a joke – no one’s Internet service has been compromised not have any of the other doom and gloom predictions come true.

        That having been said, in no way should the DoJ be involved in the rules under which a private organization bestows awards.

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