Who will be the five First-Time Director nominees at the Directors Guild of America Awards? The category, which is only three years old, could produces some surprising snubs and inclusions when it’s announced on Thursday, January 11.
First off, take a deep breath: Greta Gerwig is ineligible for this prize. Although “Lady Bird” is her first solo directorial effort, this BAFTA-snubbed star made her debut behind the camera with “Nights and Weekends” (2008), which she co-helmed alongside Joe Swanberg. So unless the guild decides to forget this little-seen indie ever happened, she can only hope for a spot among the five main contenders.
An earlier version of this post said that Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “Hell or High Water” (2016) and “Sicario” (2015) who directed the critically acclaimed mystery thriller “Wind River” was ineligible. While he helmed a horror film called “Vile” seven years before, it did not get a theatrical release.
So, who does get in? Well, if there is a frontrunner in this category, we can assume it’s Jordan Peele for “Get Out.” The financially successful horror film has shown up at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG, PGA, ADG and ACE. In fact, it’s likely the sketch-comedian-turned-auteur might actually pop up in the main lineup just like Garth Davis did last year for “Lion.”
Same goes for Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”), who stepped behind the camera for the first time with the poker drama “Molly’s Game.” He’s already nominated at the Writers Guild for penning the film, and with “Molly’s Game” PGA bid, this seems likely as well.
Actor-turned-director Andy Serkis could also factor in for the biographical drama “Breathe” (technically, he filmed the upcoming “The Jungle Book” first, but since this film was released first, it still counts as a debut). Another longtime thespian, John Carroll Lynch, is also in the running for “Lucky,” starring the late Harry Dean Stanton.
Jason Hall, who reaped an Oscar nomination for writing “American Sniper” (2014), leapt into the director’s chair with “Thank You For Your Service,” another returning veterans drama.
Aside from that, you’ve gotta dive deep into the indie and international world to come up with viable candidates. Matt Spicer (“Ingrid Goes West”), Kogonada (“Columbus”), Francis Lee (“God’s Own Country”), Eduardo Williams (“The Human Surge”), Macon Blair (“I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore”), William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”) and Kevin Phillips (“Super Dark Times”) could all show up.
And if the DGA wants to recognize some women in the first-timers category, they’ve got options aside from Gerwig. Michelle Morgan (“It Happened in L.A.”), Anita Rocha de Silveira (“Kill Me Please”), Alice Lowe (“Prevenge”) and Agnieszka Smoczynska (“The Lure”) are all possibilities.
Since the category was created two years ago, the DGA has awarded this prize to Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) and Davis. Neither went on to be nominated at the Oscars.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in this and the other top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date odds before you make make your Oscar nomination predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.