DGA Awards cliffhanger: Could Ridley Scott (‘The Martian’) pull off upset?

In what has already been a crazy Oscar season there is still potential for the race to get even wilder. At Saturday’s Directors Guild of America Awards, Ridley Scott could well win for “The Martian.” As of this writing, he sits in third place in our prediction center with the support of three of our Top 24 users (those two dozen folks who did the best predicting last year’s DGA winners) and 10% of contest entrants.

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That support translates into odds of 8/1, far behind frontrunner George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road“) who leads at 8/11 and last year’s champ Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman”) who has odds of 4/1 to repeat with “The Revenant.” The other contenders are Adam McKay (“The Big Short“) at 11/1 and Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight“) at 50/1. 

However, be mindful that Scott has the longest history with the DGA Awards, earning his first bid in 1991 for “Thelma & Louise” which he lost to eventual Oscar champ Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs” ). He’s received two other nominations: “Gladiator” in 2000 (Ang Lee won for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and “Black Hawk Down” in 2001 (lost to eventual Oscar winner Ron Howard for “A Beautiful Mind”). Besides that win last year, Inarritu also prevailed in 2012 for directing a Procter & Gamble commercial (“Best Job”). In 2006 he contended for helming “Babel” but lost to Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”) who went on to win the Oscar too. Miller, McKay and McCarthy are first-time DGA contenders. 

And remember the DGA has more than 16,000 members. Compare that to the 394 members of the directors branch of the academy who snubbed Scott. The DGA draws from directors who work in film, television and commercials. Besides directing, Scott is also a prolific producer of both movies and TV. He is represented on television today by such well-regarded fare as “The Good Wife” and “The Man in the High Castle” and has overseen acclaimed miniseries like “The Pillars of the Earth” and “Gettysburg.” Add to that his stature as the director of the iconic “1984” commercial for Apple that aired during the Super Bowl as well as other big-budget ads for such brands as Pepsi, Nissan, Coca-Cola and Chanel.

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Scott, who just turned 78, has been making movies for almost forty years beginning with “The Duellists” in 1977. Since then he has helmed such blockbusters as “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Thelma & Louise,” “Black Hawk Down,” “American Gangster” and 2000’s Best Picture champ “Gladiator.” DGA voters may well want to fete him for his lifetime of achievement. 

And that snub by the academy could work in his favor with the guild. The DGA has given their award to a director who has been slighted by the Oscars three times already. Back in 1985, Steven Spielberg won the DGA prize for “The Color Purple” edging out, among others eventual Oscar champ Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa”). A decade later, Ron Howard won the DGA honor for “Apollo 13” while Mel Gibson went on to win the Oscar for “Braveheart.” The most recent instance was three years ago when Ben Affleck won here for “Argo” while rival DGA nominee Ang Lee went on to win the Oscar for “Life of Pi.”

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Who do you think will win on Saturday night? Make your DGA predictions starting with Best Film Director to the right or at the bottom of this post.

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Photo: Ridley Scott (Fox)

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