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DGA Open to Non-Members, But Not Animators

Directors Guild voters can nominate non-DGA productions, but animated films are off-limits

The Directors Guild nominations are due shortly – Thursday morning, probably around 10:30 a.m. Pacific time. So before they arrive, and before pundits start deconstructing the meaning of who’s been nominated and who’s been overlooked, a quick lesson in what this particular guild is looking for:

The DGA has no rule requiring directors to be guild members in order to be nominated. Unlike the Writers Guild, it does not even require films to be signatories to the DGA contract. If a director is eligible to be represented by the guild, as all live-action directors are, then that director is eligible for the guild’s awards.

(In fact, non-DGA directors are routinely nominated for the guild’s top prize – though many, like last year’s winner Danny Boyle, join afterwards. Quentin Tarantino, not a member, and from what I hear not particularly well-liked within the guild, is indeed eligible, and was nominated in the past for “Pulp Fiction.”)

On the other hand, the DGA does not represent directors of animated films. As a result, animated films are ineligible for the guild’s feature film award.

So if Tarantino or Lee Daniels or Clint Eastwood don’t show up on the list of nominees, it’ll be because they didn’t get enough votes. And when Pete Docter (“Up”) and Wes Anderson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) don’t show up, it’ll be because they’re not on the ballot.

In the Writers Guild race (nominations announced next Monday), the eligibility restrictions are tougher.