The backlash against major releases being streamed is not generational and only serves to highlight the distinction between film and TV.
Cinema is rooted in a traditional experience that in some ways hasn’t changed since 1895 when the Lumière brothers held the first public movie screening at the Grand Café in Paris.
Since then, we’ve seen the advent of sound, color film, improved aspect ratio, ect.- technology has advanced, but the communal experience has stayed mainly the same.
Yet when TV became commonplace in homes across America, and soon worldwide, cinema was presented with an existential threat. This has never vanished, though cinematic content and TV broadcasts have consistently served different purposes.
However, now that streaming companies are trying to circumvent the theatrical cycle for movies, there’s reason to defend the traditional experience. Cinema is not just about the films themselves, but the act of seeing a film. Those in Spielberg’s camp may see this as akin to a religious event; for those inclined, prayer has a completely different effect in isolation as it does within a group.
A more relevant example might be theatre. Can stage-plays or musicals have the same effect on a screen as they do live? It would take dire and extreme circumstances for the Pulitzer Prize to accept non-live plays. We should expect no less from the cinema.
To feel this way isn’t being snobbish to younger generations, who may be drawn to streaming over the movie-theatre experience. Instead, it’s about wanting to preserve a particular facet of culture that is at risk of becoming a dying art form if film awards bend their rules to become more inclusive.