Who will win Directors Guild of America Award?

Last year, Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) pulled off an upset when he bested critics’ darling David Fincher (“The Social Network”) for the Directors Guild of America prize; he then went on to win the Academy Award as well. The winner of the DGA award has repeated at the Oscar every year since these kudos began in 1948 with just six exceptions. The most recent of those was in 2002 when Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) won the DGA but lost the Oscar to Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”).

Fincher is back in the running for this year’s award which will be handed out Saturday night. He contends for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” against Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris“), Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist“), Alexander Payne (“The Descendants“), and Martin Scorsese (“Hugo“). Of these five, Fincher and his film were the only ones to be snubbed by the Oscars.

In the 63-year history of the DGA prize, the guild choice for Best Director has helmed the academy’s pick for Best Picture 50 times. That puts the odds clearly in favor of the Gallic rookie nominee Hazanavicius prevailing over the four American veteran contenders as “The Artist” is expected to take the top Oscar. 

Scorsese is likely his main competition as “Hugo” reaped a leading 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Director bids. Although he has long been critcally lauded, it took Scorsese till his seventh DGA bid to finally win. That was for “The Departed” in 2006; he also claimed his first Oscar for that film. Last year, he won the TV Drama award for helming the pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” This year, he also contends for directing the documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” 

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While Allen won this prize (and the Oscar) in 1977 for “Annie Hall,” the last of his four DGA nods came in 1989 for “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Payne was nominated in 2004 for “Sideways” while Fincher also contended in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” 

The six exceptions to winning both DGA and the Oscar are:

1968 — DGA to Anthony Harvey for “The Lion in Winter” and Oscar to Carol Reed for “Oliver!”

1972 — DGA to Francis Ford Coppola for “The Godfather” and Oscar to Bob Fosse for “Cabaret”

1985 — DGA to Steven Spielberg for “The Color Purple” and Oscar to Sydney Pollack for “Out of Africa”

1995 — DGA to Ron Howard for “Apollo 13” and Oscar to Mel Gibson for “Braveheart”

2000 — DGA to Ang Lee for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Oscar to Steven Soderbergh for “Traffic”

2002 — DGA to Rob Marshall for “Chicago” and Oscar to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist”

The guild choice for Best Director has helmed the academy’s pick for Best Picture with the following 13 exceptions:

1948 — DGA to “A Letter to Three Wives” and Oscar to “Hamlet”

1951 — DGA to “A Place in the Sun” and Oscar to “An American in Paris”

1952 — DGA to “The Quiet Man” and Oscar  to “The Greatest Show on Earth”

1956 — DGA to “Giant” and Oscar to “Around the World in 80 Days”

1967 — DGA to “The Graduate” and Oscar to “In the Heat of the Night”

1968 — DGA to “The Lion in Winter” and Oscar to “Oliver!”

1981 — DGA to “Reds “and Oscar to “Chariots of Fire”

1985 — DGA to “The Color Purple” and Oscar to “Out of Africa”

1989 — DGA to “Born on the Fourth of July” and Oscar to “Driving Miss Daisy”

1995 — DGA to “Apollo 13” and Oscar to “Braveheart”

1998 — DGA to “Saving Private Ryan” and Oscar to “Shakespeare in Love”

2000 — DGA to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Oscar to “Gladiator”

2005 — DGA to “Brokeback Mountain” and Oscar to “Crash”

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