It’s no secret that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have transformed the film industry. These services have become such huge competitors that the Academy allegedly considered changing the Oscars requirements to make it harder for streaming service originals to qualify.
Now, the Department of Justice is stepping in to warn the Academy that altering the rules could raise antitrust concerns, according to Variety.
“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,” Chief of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim said in a letter to the Academy.
The DOJ cited rules against competitors making anticompetitive agreements and said that excluding streaming services from the Academy could negatively impact their sales.
Director Steven Spielberg was among those who wanted to change the Oscars’ rules, requiring films to be shown in theaters for at least four weeks to be considered.
Streaming services are giving production companies a run for their money. According to a recent report, video streaming surpassed cable subscriptions for the first time in 2018. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO GO, and a list of other services have now made films more accessible, and customers are able to watch Oscar-worthy films from the comfort of their homes.
Netflix Original “Roma” was one of the top contenders for Best Film this year and took away other Oscars as well. Netflix secured four Oscars in 2019, tying with Fox, Disney, and Universal for the most studio wins.
The Academy is set to make its final rule changes on April 23.