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Directors Guild Wades Into Streaming Movie Debate With Day-and-Date Awards Ban

In a slap at streaming services, the Directors Guild of America has banned “day and date” releases from its top feature film award.

The DGA announced Wednesday that it was taking the step “in recognition of the unique cultural importance of the theatrical experience to audiences and filmmakers alike.” Its national board unanimously approved the change on June 22 to change the eligibility rules.

“Under the new rule, which will apply to the upcoming 72nd DGA Awards cycle, films that are released through other distribution platforms on the same ‘day and date’ as they premiere in theaters will no longer be eligible for the top DGA award,” the guild said. “To reflect the change, the award was re-named ‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film.’”

Under the new rule, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” would have been eligible for the DGA Award since it was released into theaters prior to going into streaming via Netflix. The DGA said all previous DGA feature film nominees would have qualified for the top award under the new rule. Cuaron won the DGA and the best director Oscar this year for “Roma.”

“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.”

The DGA National Board also decided that the new first-run theatrical release rule will not be applied to the DGA First-Time Feature Film Award category. Bo Burnham won that award this year for “Eighth Grade,” which had a conventional theatrical release through A24 prior to being released on home video and streaming.

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