On Tuesday, the DGA announced its nominees for Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) and Ridley Scott (“The Martian”). The winner will be revealed at the 68th annual edition of this kudofest on Feb. 6 at the Hyatt Regency in Los Angeles.
We are predicting that Scott will win the Best Director Oscar. We have McCarthy in second, Inarritu in third and Miller in fourth in that race. McKay is in sixth, behind Todd Haynes (“Carol”) who was snubbed by the guild.
This year, the DGA introduced a new award for first-time directors, allowing non-guild members to contend (unlike the WGA). The nominees are: Fernando Coimbra (“A Wolf at the Door”), Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”), Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”), Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”) and Laszlo Nemes (“Son of Saul”).
Since the Directors Guild of America aligned itself with the Oscars calendar in 1950, all but seven of its winners for Best Director have repeated at the Oscars. However, the guild does less well predicting the five Oscar nominees. In its first 15 years, there were anywhere from four to 18 DGA nominees. From 1963 – 1965, it went with five before going to 10 for the rest of the decade. Finally, beginning in 1970 it enshrined the number of nominees as five. And since then, there have only been five years where it previewed the exact lineup of Oscar contenders.
Tthere are usually one or two differences between the slate selected by the 16,000 plus members of the DGA, which includes helmers of TV fares and commercials, and the choices of the 394 members of the directors branch of the academy.
Last year, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman“) edged out Wes Anderson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel“), Clint Eastwood (“American Sniper“), Richard Linklater (“Boyhood“) and Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game“) for the win. He prevailed at the Oscars against Anderson, Linklater, Tyldum and Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher”).
In 2013, Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity“) won this award over Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips“), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave“), David O. Russell (“American Hustle“), Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street“). He repeated at the Oscars against McQueen, Russell, Scorsese and Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”).
In 2012, only two of the Directors Guild of America nominees — Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) — also reaped Oscar bids. The other three DGA nominees — Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”) — were snubbed by the Oscars in favor of Michael Haneke (“Amour”), David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild). Lee won the Oscar race.
That disconnect between the DGA and Oscars was unprecedented. Affleck won over the DGA voters while his film, “Argo,” became the third to take Best Picture at the Oscars without a corresponding Best Director nomination. The others: “Grand Hotel” (1931/32) and “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989).
Affleck was the seventh DGA champ who did not go on to repeat at the Academy Awards, following in the path of these Oscar also-rans:
1968: DGA to Anthony Harvey (“The Lion in Winter”), Oscar to Carol Reed (“Oliver!”)
1972: DGA to Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”), Oscar to Bob Fosse (“Cabaret”)
1985: DGA to Steven Spielberg (“The Color Purple”), Oscar to Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa”)
1995: DGA to Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”), Oscar to Mel Gibson (“Braveheart”)
2000: DGA to Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Oscar to Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”)
2002: DGA to Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), Oscar to Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”)
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