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Oscars row: Ava DuVernay responds to Netflix backlash

NETFLIX ROW: Ava DuVernay is no stranger to challenging the status quo

AVA DUVERNAY has made an important contribution to the debate over whether films produced by Netflix should be eligible for Academy Awards.

The director’s comments come after it was reported that Steven Spielberg is to make a direct appeal to the Academy Awards for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calling on them to revoke Netflix’s eligibility to submit work for nomination.

The director and Green Book producer believes Netflix should only be allowed to compete for Emmy style awards, according to reports. This year, Roma, a Netflix original was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards.

“Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation,” IndieWire reported a spokesperson for Amblin, Spielberg’s production company said. “He’ll be happy if the others will join [his campaign] when that comes up [at the Academy Board of Governors meeting]. He will see what happens.”
While not addressing Spielberg directly, DuVernay has shared her thoughts on the ongoing debate on Twitter.

Comparing the treatment of her films released in the cinema Selma and A Wrinkle in Time and 13th, a documentary film on mass incarceration that was shown on Netflix, DuVernay said: “One of the things I value about Netflix is that it distributes black work far/wide. 190 countries will get When They See Us. Here’s a promo for South Africa. I’ve had just one film distributed wide internationally. Not Selma. Not Wrinkle. It was 13th. By Netflix. That matters,” she said.

DuVernay is continuing her collaboration with Netflix with her next project. When They See Us, a four-part film for Netflix about the Central Park Four, will be available to stream on the platform from May 31.

DuVernay’s decision to speak out and challenge the status quo is no surprise to those who have followed her career up to now.

Last month, the director, who has inspired countless women to follow their dreams, shed some light on one of the women who helped her chase her own.

Accepting her award at the VH1 Trailblazer Honors ceremony, DuVernay said: “My mother was an educator, she raised five children of her own and taught many, many more and the very first thing she ever taught me was to be fearless. Be not afraid, she would say. She taught me that my flaws were my gifts and so because of her I never questioned my desire or my ability to make films or to do anything else.”

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood and politician Nancy Pelosi were also honoured at the ceremony.

VH1 Trailblazer Honors airs in the US on International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8, on VH1.

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