The Directors Guild of America says awards eligibility for 2022 requires a film to have an exclusive theatrical release of at least seven days. The DGA rules around theatrical exclusivity were relaxed during the pandemic.
The Academy, the voting body for the Oscars, also allowed straight-to-streaming releases to qualify, given the special circumstances of 2020, and for now, the Academy still says streaming films without an exclusive theatrical run are still awards-eligible.
This is tricky for Warner Bros., which already announced all its films for this year will debut on HBO Max the same day they open in theaters, making none of their films eligible for DGA Awards.
DGA Awards are often a precursor to the Oscars, and no doubt several WarnerMedia filmmakers, including “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve, would like to be DGA-eligible.
There’s the possibility that Warners could make an exception for “Dune” and put it in theaters for a week before going to HBO Max, but that opens the floodgates for all the other WarnerMedia directors who have been denied a theatrical release in 2021.