DGA Awards predictions: Who will win inaugural First-Time Feature Film Director prize?

The Directors Guild of America will announce the inaugural nominees for the First-Time Feature Film Director Award on Tuesday. DGA board members approved this new category in October 2014 and Steven Spielberg announced it at the February 2015 award ceremony.

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The guild is no stranger to nominating directorial debuts and has even awarded them every so often with Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”, 1999) being the latest example; he went on to win the Oscar too. More recent newcomers to be nominated include Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine,” 2006) and Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton”, 2007). 

Among those likeliest to contend for this new award is Laszlo Nemes, who is the only first-time director ever to have his film screen in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival. “Son of Saul” received the Grand Prix runner-up award and is favored to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Also looking strong is Alex Garland who reaped three BAFTA bids for directing, writing and producing “Ex Machina.” His hit film also made it into the competitive Best Picture line-up at the PGAs. 

Other DGA First-Time Feature Film Award contenders include Joel Edgerton (“The Gift” starring Jason Bateman), Deniz Gamze Ergüven (French Oscar submission “Mustang”) Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” starring Kristen Wiig), John Maclean (“Slow West” starring Michael Fassbender), John Magary (“The Mend” starring Josh Lucas), Josh Mond (“James White” starring Cynthia Nixon), Naji Abu Nowar (Jordanian Oscar submission “Theeb”), Miroslav Slaboshpitsky (Ukrainian Cannes selection “The Tribe”) and S. Craig Zahler (“Bone Tomahawk” starring Richard Jenkins).

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