What Exactly Is A Movie Anyway?

March 8, 2019
Merlin2525 [CC0]
What constitutes a movie for you? To some, it’s a story shared through the lens of a video camera (sounds about right to us), but when movie awards come along, the question shifts to what qualifies for each movie category. We might not think about this during an award show, but we bet director Steven Spielberg was when he learned that Roma, which was released on Netflix, won awards for best director, best foreign language film, and best cinematography. Great news for the Roma team, right? Well, Mr. Spielberg—the man behind movies like Indiana Jones, Ready Player One, and many other successful films—took issue with Roma being a non-theater movie. You see, according to Mr. Spielberg, movies should be released in theaters in order to be considered for movie awards. He said, “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie,” which means the awards that movies like Roma can compete in are those intended for a TV audience.

Romain DUBOIS [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Mr. Spielberg’s protest does not come without support. As more movies stream and release online, movie theaters are struggling to cope. Plus, many movie makers spend a lot of money on releasing their films in movie theaters. But on the other side of the argument, movie theaters often don’t allow for such diverse movies as streaming channels like Amazon and Netflix do. So why shouldn’t their movies compete in the same category? Netflix supporters say that Mr. Spielberg is just trying to keep an old system alive, and one that does not encourage or support the making of really diverse movies.

What do you think? What should and shouldn’t be considered a movie? Do you agree with Mr. Spielberg?