Will all five DGA nominees contend at Oscars?
The Directors Guild of America nominees are: Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) who extended his record to 11 bids.
Left out were Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”), David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”), Michael Haneke (“Amour”), and Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”).
Those snubs do not bode well for their films winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Only two films have taken the top prize without their helmers being nominated by DGA: “Hamlet” (1948) and “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989).
However, any of this quintet could still reap an Oscar bid as there are usually one or two differences between the DGA and Oscar lineups for Best Director. In the 64-year history of the DGA Awards, there have only been five instances where they matched (winners of both prizes in gold):
1977: Woody Allen (“Annie Hall”), Steven Spielberg (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), Fred Zinnemann (“Julia”), George Lucas (“Star Wars”), Herbert Ross (“The Turning Point”)
1981: Louis Malle (“Atlantic City”), Hugh Hudson (“Chariots of Fire”), Mark Rydell (“On Golden Pond”), Steven Spielberg (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), Warren Beatty (“Reds”)
1998: Roberto Benigni (“Life is Beautiful”), Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”), John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”), Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”), Peter Weir (“The Truman Show”))
2005: Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”), Bennett Miller (“Capote”), Paul Haggis (“Crash”), George Clooney (“Good Night, and Good Luck”), Steven Spielberg (“Munich”)
2009: James Cameron (“Avatar”), Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”), Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”)
So who, if anyone, gets left out this year?
As Hooper was snubbed by the Golden Globes and BAFTA, he would appear to be the most vulnerable. Yet even that’s not a safe assumption to make with "Les Miserables" likely to score the second most Oscar nominations after "Lincoln."
Keep this in mind as well: the director’s branch of the academy is a much smaller, higher-minded group than the DGA. They’ve been known to make out-of-left-field choices.
Recent Oscar nominees who had been snubbed by the DGA include:
2001: David Lynch (“Mulholland Dr.”)
2002: Pedro Almodovar (“Talk to Her”)
2003: Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”)
2004: Mike Leigh (“Vera Drake”)
None of their films were not nominated for Best Picture when the category had only five contenders.
This year, Best Picture bids for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained” could put Russell of Tarantino into this race. Passionate support for “The Master” or “Amour” could make either Anderson or Haneke a nominee even if their films fail to make the cut. As for Wes Anderson and “Moonrise Kingdom,” the chips could fall either way in both instances.
And who wins the DGA? There have only been six instances where the DGA champ did not go on to repeat at the Oscars:
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”)
Four of this year's nominees have previously prevailed at both DGA and the Oscars; Affleck has never contended at either as a director. Could that be enough for him to win? Or could three-time DGA and two-time Oscar champ Spielberg add another prize to his mantle?