Directors Guild of America’s (DGA) national board has reinstated the rule requiring contenders for its top award to get an exclusive theatrical release, creating an obstacle for Black Widow and this year’s upcoming Warner Bros releases.
The rule, introduced in 2019, returns after the guild temporarily put it on hold last season and allowed day-and-date theatrical and digital releases to qualify for the DGA’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film Award when the pandemic forced cinemas to close.
Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland won that contest, however because films in contention for this season’s top award released after June 15 must get an exclusive theatrical run of at least seven days prior to any other distribution window, a number of planned day-and-date releases may not qualify.
Disney is releasing Black Widow on July 9 day-and-date in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access, while every remaining Warner Bros film this year opens simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max. They include Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming Venice premiere Dune and Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho.
The films will be ineligible for the award unless their studios pivot to give them an exclusive seven-day first-run in cinemas.
For theatrical feature films released March 1-June 14, 2021, the limited exception will still apply.
The 74th Annual DGA Awards will take place on March 12, 2022, with the eligibility period running from March 1 – December 31, 2021.