No surprise that Alfonso Cuaron won at the Directors Guild of America Awards on Feb. 2. He was predicted to prevail here and is all but certain to claim Best Director at the Oscars, too. But before we look at how Cuaron’s win has positively affected his film’s position in our 35 boxes theory, which catalogues key events on the road to the Oscars, let’s talk about Bradley Cooper for a second (“A Star is Born” haters, keep scrolling).
Cooper was nominated for Best Feature Film Director (the award Cuaron won), but was also up for Best First-Time Feature Film Director. However, Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”) won that award. How does that work? Burnham was not nominated in the main category, so clearly the guild members didn’t think his helming ranked among the top five of the year as had Cooper. Yet they think Burnham’s direction was better than Cooper’s. Makes. No. Sense.
Here’s how Cuaron’s win at the DGA Awards changes the latest edition of the 35 boxes theory:
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So, there you have it. “Roma” now sits on 17 boxes ticked. That doesn’t change the rankings with Cuaron’s film still in fourth place, wedged in between “Bohemian Rhapsody” at 16 and a trio of films on 18: “A Star is Born,” “The Favourite,” and “Vice.”
Cuaron beat the helmer of the latter film, Adam McKay, while he also bested Spike Lee of “BlacKkKlansman,” which sits in second place overall with 19 boxes checked. Lee, Cuaron’s closest rival (although the word ‘closest’ is relative here) had been hoping to pull off an upset and trigger his own film’s path to Best Picture glory the way John Schlesinger did in 1969 with “Midnight Cowboy” after he won the DGA. Alas, it was not to be.
The route for Cuaron’s second Best Director win at the Oscars (his first was for “Gravity”) is as clear as anything could possibly be. But the race for Best Picture is still as hazy as ever. Next up are the BAFTAs on February 10th. Stay tuned.
1st Place: “Green Book” – 22
2nd Place: “BlacKkKlansman” – 19
3rd Place: “A Star is Born,” “The Favourite,” “Vice” – 18
4th Place: “Roma” – 17
5th Place: “Bohemian Rhapsody” – 16
6th Place: “Black Panther” – 7
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