2020 Directors Guild of America Awards winner will become frontrunner at Oscars

The nominees for the 72st annual edition of the DGA Awards are: Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”), Sam Mendes (“1917”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) and Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”). All of these but the Waititi reaped Oscar nominations as well; he was snubbed by the directors branch of the academy in favor of “Joker” helmer Todd Phillips.

That the DGA and Oscars don’t have the same line-up isn’t so surprising. After all, since the DGA enshrined the number of nominees as five in 1970, there have only been five years when it previewed the exact slate of Oscar contenders. There are usually one or two discrepancies. The last time that the DGA went just 2 for 5 was in 2013.

The two Directors Guild of America nominees that year to also reap Oscar bids were Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”). The other three guild favorites — Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”) — were snubbed by the academy in favor of Michael Haneke (“Amour”), David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild).  Lee won the Oscar race.

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Lee had lost at the DGA Awards to Affleck who became the seventh and most recent DGA champ to not repeat at the Academy Awards. Affleck followed in the path of these Oscar also-rans:

1969: DGA to Anthony Harvey (“The Lion in Winter”), Oscar to Carol Reed (“Oliver!”);

1973: DGA to Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”), Oscar to Bob Fosse (“Cabaret”);

1986: DGA to Steven Spielberg (“The Color Purple”), Oscar to Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa”);

1996: DGA to Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”), Oscar to Mel Gibson (“Braveheart”);

2001: DGA to Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Oscar to Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”); and

2003: DGA to Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), Oscar to Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”).

Affleck could take comfort in the fact that “Argo” won Best Picture at the Oscars. It was the third film to do so without a corresponding Best Director nomination joining “Grand Hotel” (1931/32) and “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989).

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