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Should a film require a theatrical exhibition to qualify for major awards?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Lounge' started by CJ, May 18, 2017.


Should a film require a theatrical exhibition to qualify for major awards?

  1. Yes - Films should be shown in theaters if they want to be eligible for these kinds of awards.

    3 vote(s)
  2. No - What does it matter?

    8 vote(s)
  1. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    No, I was referring to the industry sponsored awards, i.e the Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, Tony's, etc. These are all related to specific methods of wide release. Also, they are industry awards. It is each specific industry recognizing who or what they believe to be the best in that industry.

    The Golden Globe Awards were not created by or sponsored by the industry, but rather by a foreign press association. While the Golden Globes have a lot of prestige, I would group them categorically with other non-industry awards, such as the MTV Movie & TV Awards, the People's Choice Awards, etc.

    I also do think there is a difference between almost any movie intended to be released on TV or via streaming and one intended to be released in theaters, regardless of whether it is "Made for TV" or a "Feature Film". The biggest and most noticeable is budget.

    I haven't been able to find an average cost to actually make a Hollywood movie for theatrical release, but what I have suggests many (most?) studio films are running over $50 million and a lot close to $100 million.

    Except possibly the Olympics, I'm not sure anything ever produced for TV has had a budget even close to $50 million, let alone $100 million. Maybe some long running TV series?
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  2. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Again my point: regardless of budget, why should it matter if a film is released via Netflix or at the Hawkins Cinemas? I say it should not.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  3. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    I agree with David, that it is irrelevant but I assure you Netflix and Amazon will both be producing movies with budgets exceeding past Oscar winners, if they haven't already.

    Oh, never mind, Netflix's Okja has a budget 30X (THIRTY TIMES) larger than Moonlight.

    Maybe you didn't know this. Maybe your argument is theoretical, based on assumptions or based on past precedent. I think the exact point is, that precedent is being broken... actually crushed.
    DYohn likes this.
  4. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Cannes: Boo Netflix, But Studios and Theaters Are Killing Movies | Inverse

    Good summary. As the article states, this is a matter of elitism or conversely exclusionism.

  5. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    I was specific in my previous post that I was referring to Hollywood studio productions, not independent films and I said "almost any movie". I was also specific about differentiating between industry awards and film festival (i.e. Cannes, Sundance) or popularity contests (MTV, People's Choice) type awards.

    Moonlight was an independent film, not a studio production. The vast, vast majority of independent films never make it into theaters or if they do it is into a limited number of art house theaters and not into wide release, but there have been other exceptions. Moonlight is not the only independent film to to hit it big; a another one in recent memory is The Blair Witch Project. However, Moonlight was made with the intent of being a theatrical release, so while an exception WRT budget, it still fits all the current criteria for the Oscars.

    Comparing current TV budgets with past movie budgets really doesn't mean much. A single episode of Game Of Thrones probably costs more than a lot of past Oscar winners. Budget comparisons are only valid when comparing the same time periods.

    Also, the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and other industry awards are exactly that, industry awards. While TV movies and theatrical movies may be made on the same production lots and even by some of the same people, the TV and movie industries would never want them to be competing against each other for awards. At some point would a scripted live TV show become eligible for a Tony Award?
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
  6. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    So you only have to make it with the intention of releasing it in theaters and then release it to a tiny number of theaters even if no one sees it?
    I'm not trying to compare TV budgets vs old movie budgets. I'm comparing Netflix original film budgets with traditional Hollywood film budgets, and recent ones at that.
    I did exactly that so I'm not sure what you're angling at here. Given Okja's $50M budget I could definitely give more examples of very recent (last five years) Oscar films with smaller budgets. My point is, budget is irrelevant.

    I actually think a big part of the issue is I don't view what Netflix and Amazon are making as films as "made for TV movies". They are every bit the caliber of independent or Hollywood movies. These aren't "After Man" made for TV docudramas, they're true films, in many cases helmed by and starring Hollywood talent.
  7. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    This could probably go in a couple threads including this one plus these two (The Netflix Backlash: Why Hollywood Fears a Content Monopoly | Sacrilegious to some I'm sure ) but I'll post it here.
    Thank God Netflix is giving filmmakers the chance to make movies without superheroes
    DYohn likes this.
  8. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    This is the statement I was referring to. Possibly I mis-interpreted it.
    Regardless, my statement about TV/streaming vs theatrical production budgets was a generalization and I still believe it is generally accurate. Another generalization: Money does make a difference.

    I want to make sure I understand what you and David are suggesting or advocating. So if I am understanding you correctly, you believe Okja should be eligible for the appropriate for the Oscars?

    If that is the case, then, I guess it would follow that theatrical movies, like Lion and Freefire, should also be eligible for all the appropriate Emmy Awards, correct?
  9. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Top Poster Of Month

    If Okja is a "movie" then yes it should be eligible for an Oscar regardless of how it is distributed. The Emmy award is not intended for feature films, but for television programming. Okja as a film (just like Lion) would not qualify for Emmy consideration.
  10. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    There are a number of movie specific categories in the Emmys. If a movie made for television or streaming release should be eligible for an Oscar I have difficulty seeing why a movie made for theatrical release should not in turn be eligible for a an Emmy. And if the movie is eligible then it logically follows that all the related awards, such as actor, director, etc. would also be open.

    You can't have it both ways. If a movie intended for television or streaming release should be considered eligible for Oscars then movies intended for theatrical release must be eligible for the Emmys.

    Of course, this entire discussion is moot. As I've said, the Oscars and Emmys are industry awards. The Oscars aren't going to let TV movies in and the Emmys aren't going to allow theatrical movies. If they did what would be the point of having 2 awards shows? Money, of course, which is why they were created in the first place. But having cross medium eligibility would dilute and reduce the take, and nobody in either industry wants that.
  11. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    BTW, the poll question never defines what a "major award" for films or movies is. The path this discussion has taken seems to assume that for movies/films that the only 'major' awards are the Academy Awards, aka Oscars. CJ, is that the underlying assumption of your poll question?
  12. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    The whole budget conversation started with that statement. I merely pointed out that contemporary streaming feature films' (not "made for TV", I still assert there is a difference) budgets rival Hollywood theatrical films.

    Yes and no. Again, many Oscars have been won in the very recent past with budgets of under $5M. In fact, very few non-technical Oscars are won by big budget films. So I'm not sure why you're so hung up on budget.


    No. Those movies were not "made for TV" but neither was Okja. I think the main crux in this debate (which I am very much enjoying) is that you seem to consider this to be a binary. Theatrical films, and made for TV movies. I assert that paradigm has been broken.

    The poll question was vague, but didn't intend to be mean only for the Oscars. My line of thinking actually started with the ridiculous, childish, elitist, snobbish, moronic, and asinine booing of Netflix at Cannes. But my question here is broader than that.

    Also, our opinion is moot at the end of the day, but as I said, I'm enjoying the debate.
  13. Because the Oscars are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Emmys are presented by the Academy of TELEVISION Arts and Sciences.
    CJ likes this.
  14. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    So perhaps the issue is that the Oscars have been snubbing non-theatrical motion pictures for decades but the state of the art (e.g. the budgets and quality) has finally risen to a point that merits action.
  15. The Oscars will continue to snub anyone they can. If they don't like a director's methods, they'll snub them regardless of the release route. This is the hollywood elite you keep hearing about. The people in charge of the AMPAS are no different than the music industry, who drove themselves into near obsolescence by continuing to back and force feed consumers a business model that refused to change with the times. They remained stuck in their ways, in concrete shoes that sunk their traditional business model.

    At least Netflix and Amazon are destroying the AMPAS's elitist model legally, compared to Napster.

    It's not even just that the budgets have reached a higher level, it's mostly that the cost of entry has DROPPED to a point that the barrier no longer exists.
  16. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Top Poster Of Month

    In 1989 and 90 I worked as an Executive Producer for a small studio called Nelson Entertainment that was part owned by Columbia and part owned by MGM. We produced films with budgets between $6 and $60 million. The most famous of these would likely be "When Harry Met Sally" and "Bill and Ted." Even though Columbia had first right of refusal and MGM second for anything we produced, they also had no obligation. We spent over $16M producing most of a film based on Gary Larson's The Far Side comics that they both declined to finish and distribute. So did everyone else, including HBO and all the major networks, so the work we did went into the can and was the main reason why I was terminated (no more money.) If Netflix had been a thing then I certainly would have pitched them for distribution.

    So again my point: if a film is a film then it is a film. It should not matter how it is distributed, especially not for festivals and awards. Period.
    CJ and Travis Ballstadt like this.
  17. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member

    Was it in theaters? If not, it wasn't a film. ;) BTW, without knowing how good this was, I'm crushed it never saw the light of day. I'm a HUGE Gary Larson fan.
    DYohn likes this.
  18. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    So long as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences include theatrical release as an eligibility requirement it is a binary question.

    To Travis' point, keep in mind that the "Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences" was founded before television was anything more than a lab experiment. If it had been founded after TV became commercially viable the name would likely be very different.

    However, even in 1929 (1st year awards were presented) a non-theatrical entry would not have been eligible. That's because there has always been a requirement that any movie nominated for Best Picture must have been shown theatrically in Los Angeles for at least 7 consecutive days in the year for which it was nominated. So there is nothing new about theatrical release being a requirement for an Oscar.

    Another point is that neither organization wants cross-over and both have taken measures over the decades to maintain their separation. The Oscars have rules that prevent movies that have aired on TV or streamed from being eligible and the Emmys have rules that prevent theatrical releases from being eligible. For example, to be eligible for an Emmy a show must have had its original premier aired on TV or streamed via broadband in the year for which is is being nominated. I would not be at all surprised if the rules committees of both Academies work together to maintain the separation and distinction.

    At some point I do expect the line between theatrical and TV/streaming productions to disappear. This discussion by itself makes it obvious that the line is already very blurred and it will only become more-so over time.

    As am I. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2017
    CJ likes this.
  19. Absolutely both want to maintain separation. The separation they maintain justifies the existence of two organizations, and two awards presentations. The separation guarantees that neither will be 'shut out' in an awards presentation.

    Why do you automatically lump TV and streaming together, could be the bigger question? If I had to lump it in with one or the other, I'd put it in with theatrical, based on my viewing habits. I have a TV and I have a dedicated theater space. I stream content in my theater space, while the TV is for watching the news and Wheel of Fortune.
    DYohn likes this.
  20. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Admin War Zone Member


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