Kathy Bates and Kevin Costner added their opinions to the ongoing debate over theatrical releases versus streaming at the premiere of their Netflix movie The Highwaymen on Sunday (10Mar19).
Veteran filmmaker Steven Spielberg has been vocal in his criticism of Netflix and how Netflix bosses give some of their films, like Oscar nominated movie Roma, a short theatrical run to make them eligible for awards even though they are available to watch at home the same day.
Spielberg, the Academy’s directors branch governor, reportedly wants to call for a change in eligibility rules at an upcoming board meeting, in which he will push for films to have an exclusive theatrical window of at least four weeks to qualify for major Oscars.
And on Sunday, as their film premiered at the South by Southwest festival, stars Costner and Bates were quizzed about their opinions on the debate.
“I guess I’m kind of old-fashioned, I’m like Mr. Spielberg,” the 70-year-old actress, who plays Governor Miriam Ferguson in the release, told Variety. “I just read about (the debate) in the news the other day and I thought, ‘C’mon, y’all, that’s not fair.'”
The Misery star then questioned the tactic of giving streaming films a one-week theatrical window to qualify for awards.
“I just think, showing them for a week just to qualify, people don’t seem… I don’t know, I kind of think that’s dirty pool,” she said. “I shouldn’t say ’cause Netflix has been very, very good to me. I just think that the streaming is one thing, but theater’s another.”
However, she did defend streaming services for allowing film fans to make up their own minds “and not be influenced” by film critics.
Meanwhile, Costner, 64, who plays Texas Ranger Frank Hamer in the film about the hunt for outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, which also stars Woody Harrelson, is equally in favour of seeing movies in a theatre.
“I believe in the Oscars, I’m a romantic about our business,” Costner said. “I love the theater, the theater experience…”
“I think movies are for theaters, and as long as they can stay in them,” he continued. “As long as they can stay in them, and thank God for these downstream ways of viewing movies, but now there’s this level of competition and I’m just trying to think of how to end my last story here.”
The Highwaymen is now streaming on Netflix.