Theatrical films and television each have organizations dedicated to recognizing excellence in their respective mediums. However, with the changing media landscape, the line between the two has been getting blurry. Now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is considering implementing a new rule that would force producers to choose if they want a particular movie to be nominated for Oscars or Emmys.
The rule that's being considered could take effect as early as next year, and it would state that by submitting a film for Oscar consideration, filmmakers would be disqualified from submitting the same production to the Emmys.
With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, what constitutes a movie made for television versus one made for the movie theater is much harder to determine. There have already been a pair of instances where movies have been nominated for Oscars but won Emmys. Ava Duvernay's 13th and biopic What happened, Miss Simone? both won the Emmy for best documentary or nonfiction special but were nominated for the best documentary feature Oscar. The Academy has been ok with that, in part, because theatrical documentaries are often financed by television companies, so there are some valid reasons that they could be considered for both awards.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, two other recent releases have the people behind the Oscars concerned. There was apparently some real fear that Dee Rees' Mudbound could grab itself a Best Picture nomination. While that did not happen, if it had, and then if the film also goes on to earn Emmy nominations, the Oscars would apparently feel that would dilute the brand.
The other film that is causing the Academy to lose sleep is the documentary O.J. Made in America. The film won the documentary Oscar last year as its creator always viewed it as a single piece, but, since it aired on ESPN in multiple parts, it was submitted to the Emmys as well, where it won two awards.
The one roadblock to a rule like this working is that for the Oscar rule to have any teeth, it would need to be supported by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. At this point, the Television Academy has yet to make a make a public statement on the topic, so it's unclear if they even view this "double dipping" issue as a problem worth addressing.
It's certainly true that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu skirt the line between movies and television. They are both, and also neither, in a traditional sense. If there are going to be both awards, then there probably should be some rules which clarify which ones a given production is eligible for.