Could ‘Argo’ win DGA without Oscar directing bid, like ‘Apollo 13’?

A popular actor-turned-director helms a nail-biting crowd-pleaser about a heroic moment in American history and seems well on his way to Oscar glory, only to be unexpectedly snubbed for Best Director. That’s the narrative this season for Ben Affleck, whose film “Argo” has experienced the rise, fall, and rise again of an uncharacteristically volatile Oscar season.

But an eerily similar scenario took shape 17 years ago, when Ron Howard‘s “Apollo 13” was on track for Oscars, but was snubbed for Best Director and subsequently lost Best Picture to “Braveheart” – ironic considering that its director, Mel Gibson, was an A-list Hollywood heartthrob who built artistic cred behind the camera, just like Affleck.

But despite being overlooked by the Oscars, Howard managed to win the Directors Guild Award anyway. Only six times in the guild’s 64-year history has the DGA winner differed from Oscar’s Best Director. But it’s even rarer for the DGA winner not even to be nominated at the Oscars. Steven Spielberg was the only other example: he won DGA for “The Color Purple” in 1985, but was left out of Oscar’s lineup.


Affleck could be the third to achieve that rare distinction. He currently gets best odds to win DGA against Oscar favorite Spielberg, who is in the race this year for another historical drama, “Lincoln.” And if Affleck does win that prize, Oscar night could be win-win for the burgeoning filmmaker: if “Argo” wins Best Picture, becoming the first film since “Driving Miss Daisy” to do so without a directing bid, Affleck would be rewarded as one of its producers. But if it loses Affleck will get an instant Oscar IOU; after their historic snubs, Spielberg and Howard both went on to win Picture and Director Oscars within 10 years: Spielberg for “Schindler’s List” and Howard for “A Beautiful Mind.”

-ADDPREDICTION:85:4:Click to predict Best Picture Oscar:ADDPREDICTION-

Will “Argo” rebound from its Best Director snub and win the Best Picture Oscar that eluded “Apollo 13,” or is “Lincoln” too far ahead for any film to catch it?

5 thoughts on “Could ‘Argo’ win DGA without Oscar directing bid, like ‘Apollo 13’?

  1. Since Argo is most definitely not as amazing as Apollo 13 (one of the best commercial films ever made). I sure as hell hope it doesn’t win. It can, certainly. I’ve got it at number 2 but… damn it if it wins…

  2. I saw Lincoln a few days ago. I saw Argo more than a month ago. After finishing Lincoln, my first thought was “oh my god, this is a soap opera. This could have worked better as a miniseries”. When thinking about the scene in Argo when the plane leaves the iranian airport, my heart starts to beat faster. In an uncertain year like this one, we are bound to receive many surprises and lately, the academy seems to like not to be predictable (Inception for Cinematography, Girl with Dragon Tattoo for Editing, Precious for Screenplay) and this may be one of those surprises they have in store for us. I am too in the Argo bandwagon.

  3. I just don’t think Lincoln is as great a movie as many others seem to think it is. It’s dry, hard to follow, the cast is way too big, and he ends the movie about 5 minutes later than he should have. (Should have ended with Lincoln walking out of the house. That would have been quite poetic). My instincts say the DGA and Academy think it’s worthy enough to be nominated, but not to win. I have learned to trust my instincts on these issues. If they don’t go for Affleck for the DGA, I think Lee would be their other frontrunner. But my money is on Affleck, especially with all the sympathy votes he’ll get now that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar. Lincoln has a better chance to get the PGA, but I still think that goes to Argo as well. This is going to be a fun year. We prognosticators are going to drive ourselves crazy trying to guess the Oscar wins next month. Because it in no way is going to be predictable.

  4. Bill, don’t try to pass opinion as fact. “Apollo 13” was very good, but there are a bunch of better films in the past 20 years, let alone ever. Even worse, you don’t mention a film this year that is better than “Argo”. If “Argo” is the best directed film of 2012 (which, in my opinion, it is) it should be awarded as such. “Lincoln” was not a director-driven film so much as it was Daniel Day-Lewis’ film. “Life of Pi” and “Zero Dark Thirty” are also beautifully directed films.

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