Oscar watchers are sure to be in attendance at the Beverly Hilton Saturday (Feb. 4) for the 69th annual Directors Guild of America Awards. Since the guild aligned itself with the academy calendar in 1950, all but seven of its winners for Best Director have repeated at the Oscars. So, who will win this important precursor prize?
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Our 11 Oscarologists predicting the DGA Awards are: Erik Davis (Fandango), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Brian Truitt (USA Today), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and me.
All of us are predicting that “La La Land” helmer Damien Chazelle will win. That unanimous support gives him overwhelming odds of 1/10. Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) sits in second at 33/1 while both Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) are at 50/1. Rounding out the race is Garth Davis (“Lion”) at 100/1; however, he is tipped to take home the first-time filmmaker award.
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Given the staggering 90% success rate of the DGA, it is no surprise that Chazelle is also the clear frontrunner to prevail at the Oscars too. At age 32 years, and 38 days, he would be the youngest-ever winner of the Best Director Oscar; Norman Taurog was 32 years and 267 days when he won this award in 1931 for “Skippy.”
The correlation between the two awards is so strong that it could not be broken even in 2012 when the Oscar-snubbed helmer Ben Affleck won over the DGA and saw his film — “Argo” — go on to be named Best Picture by the academy.
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”)
Be sure to make your DGA predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our DGA odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on Feb 4. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the DGA Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.