Hollywood's award season might not kick off for another few months, but when it does, campaigners will have some new names to add to their movie screener mailing list: The Directors Guild of America has reversed a long-standing policy that prohibited its members from watching on screeners films in contention for the organization's annual awards.
The DGA will follow the actions of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, the Screen Actors Guild and other industry organizations, which allow their voting members to watch eligible films on DVD or online screeners.
"There's nothing better than watching a movie on the big screen, exactly as the director intended," DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement. "But it's not always possible for our members to get to the theater to see every film in awards contention. For that reason, the national board has decided to allow members to receive 'for your consideration' screeners."
The DGA was the last holdout in allowing members to view screeners (though, in truth, a certain percentage of its members, those who belong to other guilds or the film academy, likely had already been receiving the DVDs in the mail). The group crafted the policy to counter any potential bias in favor of larger studio films with more marketing means, fearing those movies would have an advantage over smaller, independently made films unable to spend the funds necessary to distribute DVDs.
The guild said it changed course to appease its membership, both those living outside metropolitan areas and others unable to attend theatrical screenings.
The DGA's national board made the decision at its meeting Saturday.
The guild said it would continue to operate its theatrical screening program in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London and Washington, D.C.
Photo: "The Artist's" Michel Hazanavicius won the DGA's top prize at the body's 2012 awards ceremony. Credit: Chris Pizello /Associated Press.