Comedian Bo Burnham earned raves from critics for his debut feature film, the coming-of-age comedy “Eighth Grade,” which has earned him recognition from groups including the Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and Writers Guild. He was also nominated by the Directors Guild for Best First-Time Director, where he’s up against Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”). Cooper is the overwhelming favorite to win that award, according to our racetrack odds, but could Burnham pull off an upset? Some of our top users think so.
Cooper garnered raves of his own for “A Star is Born,” and not only did the DGA nominate him as a first-timer, they also cited him in their overall Best Director category. In the three previous years that a debut directing prize was handed out, there were only two other filmmakers who were nominated in both categories: Garth Davis for “Lion” (2016) and Jordan Peele for “Get Out” (2017). Unsurprisingly, both of them won Best First-Time Director.
So if Cooper is good enough to be nominated among all directors, it stands to reason that he’ll be chosen as the best debut director. Indeed, the Expert journalists we’ve polled as of this writing are unanimous that Cooper will prevail. But there are a few users who think Burnham might be poised for an upset.
Burnham is backed by 4 of the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s DGA winners, and 3 of our All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine predictions results from the last two years. Perhaps that’s because Cooper has shown signs of vulnerability throughout the awards season.
Since Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”) has dominated most Best Director contests thus far, Cooper has been handed losses at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Oscars didn’t even nominate him for Best Director. Cooper doesn’t have to worry about Cuaron in the DGA race for Best First-Time Director, but how much the industry really appreciates his work on “A Star is Born” remains an open question.
That leaves the door open for the possibility that Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” could take Cooper to school. Do you agree with the top users who say that Burnham will win, or are you joining the majority who say Cooper has this one in the bag?
Be sure to make your DGA predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name filmmakers can see how their movies are faring in our odds. Keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on February 2. And join in the fierce debate over the 2019 DGA Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.