In a blow to Netflix’s awards ambitions, the Directors Guild of America’s (DGA) has announced that effective immediately the director of a film that opens day-and-date theatrically and on other platforms will no longer be eligible for the Guild’s top award.
The DGA’s national board agreed on the change to eligibility requirements after a unanimous vote on Saturday (22), “[i]n recognition of the unique cultural importance of the theatrical experience to audiences and filmmakers alike.”
The top award has been renamed Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film. It was hitherto known as Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film.
The DGA said on its website on Wednesday (26) that the rule change will not apply to the DGA First-Time Feature Film Award category. All other feature film eligibility requirements remain the same for the upcoming 72nd Annual DGA Awards cycle. All previous DGA feature film nominees, including last year’s winner Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, would have qualified for the top award under the rule change.
In April the Academy’s board of governors voted to leave its eligibility rules intact, allowing films that open in non-theatrical media on the same day as their theatrical release to remain eligible for Oscars.
“The DGA proudly affirms that a first-run theatrical release is a distinctive element of our feature film award,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. “We celebrate the important role that theatrical cinema has played in bringing together audiences as they collectively experience films as the filmmakers intended them to be viewed. We also take great pride in recognizing all of the work created by our members through the many categories and formats that are part of the DGA Awards.”