Directors Guild Will No Longer Consider Day-and-Date Releases for Top Prize

The guild has elected to do what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently declined to do: create a roadblock for titles from Netflix.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Directors Guild of America has done what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently declined to do: create a new rule to make it harder for 'day-and-date' releases — as in, films that are not given a theatrical run prior to hitting a streaming service, as is the case for many titles that Netflix has heretofore pushed for accolades — to compete for its top awards-season honor.

The DGA's National Board unanimously approved of the change "in recognition of the unique cultural importance of the theatrical experience to audiences and filmmakers alike," the guild said Wednesday in a statement.

Every title heretofore nominated nominated for the prize, which was previously known as "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film," would have qualified under the new rule — including Netflix's Roma, for which Alfonso Cuaron won the top honor at the 71st DGA Awards earlier this year, as it received a more substantial theatrical release than most titles from the streamer.

That award will now be known as "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film."

"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."

Day-and-date releases will still be eligible in the category of Outstanding First-Time Feature Film Award. All other feature film eligibility requirements remain the same for the 72nd DGA Awards.