Will Clint Eastwood win DGA Award for ‘American Sniper’ despite Oscars snub?

If Clint Eastwood pulls off an upset at Saturday’s Directors Guild Awards could that put “American Sniper” on the path to a Best Picture win at the Academy Awards. After all, Ben Affleck did just that two years ago, taking home this prize for helming “Argo” and then seeing his film win the top Oscar even though he was not nominated by the directors branch of the academy. 

Yes, Eastwood is a long-shot, sitting in third place in our rankings at 50/1. That puts him well back of Richard Linklater, a clear favorite at 1/5 for his 12-year committment to “Boyhood” and second-place Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who is at 9/1 for the bravura “Birdman.” 

But remember, the directors guild is huge. Its 14,500 members include helmers of TV fare and commercials as well as feature films. And they are scattered about the country, including all those red states where Eastwood and his film, which just topped $250 million, are revered.

Our fearless leader Tom O’Neil and Awards Daily founder Sasha Stone think that Eastwood, a two-time DGA champ (“Unforgiven,” 1992; “Million Dollar Baby,” 2004) could pull off the hat trick. As Sasha says in their podcast (an absolute must-listen): “Yes, Clint can win DGA. He’s in his 80s. They want to pay him that respect. To them, he’s god. We just don’t know what academy members are thinking about ‘American Sniper.’ Is it getting hurt by controversy and the endorsement of Sarah Palin?”

Oscars insanity! Sasha Stone and I wonder: What the hell’s next? (podcast)

“Argo” was only the third film in the 85-year history of the Oscars to win Best Picture without a corresponding Best Director bid; the others were “Grand Hotel” (1931/32) and “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989).

And Affleck was the third DGA winner to be snubbed by the Oscars. The first was Steven Spielberg who won the first of his record three DGA awards in 1985 for helming “The Color Purple.” Despite his film version of the Alice Walker novel earning 11 Oscar nominations in all, he was shut out of the directors’ race. Alas, it ended up tying the record for most losses at the Oscars failing to win even one award, matching the dubious achievement of “The Turning Point” in 1977. 

In 1995, Ron Howard became the second DGA champ that didn’t get an invite to the Oscars. He won over his guild for helming “Apollo 13” but found himself out of the running for the Oscar. As did “Argo,” Apollo 13″ won Best Picture at the PGA as well SAG Ensemble. However, it lost the Golden Globe (Drama) to “Sense and Sensibility.” And while “Apollo 13” was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, “Braveheart” — which was the very first screener ever sent to academy members — won as did its director, Mel Gibson.

Four more of the 66 DGA champs did not also claim Oscars but at least they were nominated: 

1968DGA to Anthony Harvey (“The Lion in Winter”), Oscar to Carol Reed (“Oliver!”)

1972DGA to Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”), Oscar to Bob Fosse (“Cabaret”)

2000DGA to Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Oscar to Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”)

2002DGA to Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), Oscar to Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”)

If you haven’t made your Directors Guild of America Awards predictions yet, there’s still time. Click here to visit our predictions center, where you can enter your picks or use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to get started and be in with a chance to win $100 if you get the highest score. 

7 thoughts on “Will Clint Eastwood win DGA Award for ‘American Sniper’ despite Oscars snub?

  1. I’d buy the he’s old, he’s God argument and DGA will give it to him only if he had never won before. Since he won twice, including the corresponding Oscars, I say they’ll give it to Linklater.

  2. Furthermore, the $200+ million b.o. proves that the movie is a tickets magnet with American audience. It doesn’t mean that it’s estimated as a great film by voters. Two very different things. I wish pundits would stop using its b.o. prowess as proof to support any potential awards prowess. AS is not groundbreaking because a very similar themed movie, The Hurt Locker, won very recently.

  3. Linklater is respected among filmmakers. In 1999, his Austin Film Society was the very first to be recognized with the DGA Honors Award for contributing to regional film culture and production. I’m very glad that Eastwood was nominated at DGA, but the award should go to Linklater.

  4. You’re all forgetting the power of “three.” A best picture winner must win a minimum of 3 oscars to be validated and, unlike “Argo”, “Sniper” isn’t a leading contender in any categories that count or to reach that magic number.

  5. Clint Eastwood is well deserving of the PGA award and should win since “American Sniper” is the best film and Bradley Cooper is the best actor of the lot and he should win at the OSCAR if liberal politics and sniping didn’t get in the way of things. Lets not forget that the Academy chose it as one of their Best Picture. . But despite the dig at the masterful powerful film because Sarah Palin has endorsed the film, I didn’t know she had that much influence on the liberal leaning Academy, shouldn’t really be a negative unless you are a left wing loon aligned with all the leftist guttersnipes despicable rhetoric, Oh, lets not forget OBAMA and Michele Obama has praised the film as well. Its always interesting when the lib pundits and bloggers start to squirrel and sweat when they feel some film outside the their box is picking up support to win it all.

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