The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has banned “day and date” releases from its top feature film award, a blow to not just streaming services but some boutique distributors as well.
The DGA announced on Wednesday it was taking the step “in recognition of the unique cultural importance of the theatrical experience to audiences and filmmakers alike”. The group’s national board unanimously approved the change on June 22nd to change the eligibility rules.
In a statement, DGA president Thomas Schlamme says: “The DGA proudly affirms that a first-run theatrical release is a distinctive element of our feature film award. 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.”
The new rule will apply to the upcoming 72nd DGA Awards cycle and their top award will be re-named: ‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film’. That award remains the best indicator of whom will eventually win the Best Director Oscar.
Under the new rule, a film like “Roma” (which won the DGA top award) would still qualify since it was released into theaters prior to going onto streaming via Netflix. The DGA confirmed all previous DGA feature film nominees would have qualified for the top award under the new rule.
This rule will NOT be applied to the DGA First-Time Feature Film Award category.