The Directors Guild Awards have traditionally been one of the best predictors of the Oscars. Missing out on a nomination or win from the DGA significantly lowers a film’s chances of getting the same from the Academy. Until last year, that is.
Last year all hell broke loose. No less than three of the DGA nominees were not nominated for the Best Director Oscar, including the eventual DGA winner, Ben Affleck. As you may recall, Affleck’s Argo also went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars – a feat which is rare enough without a corresponding Best Director win, but almost unheard of without even a nomination!
The cause for all that chaos and confusion was easily traceable to a simple schedule change. It used to be that the DGA nominees were announced well before the Oscar ballots were due, which meant voters were more influenced by the announcement. But last year they were announced shortly after the ballots were turned in. With a high number of viable contenders, it makes sense that the two groups had differing lists.
This year, the Oscar ballots are due tomorrow (Jan 8), one day after today’s DGA announcement. There could be some slight influence, but with only 24hrs in between, that effect will probably be negligible. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two lists ended up looking very similar again, just like old times.
This year’s DGA nominees are all very strong contenders. Three of them – Cuarón, McQueen, and Russell – are pretty much locks for Oscar nominations, and the other two are really good bets. That said, there are still a number of very strong contenders that didn’t make today’s cut, including the Coen Bros. for Inside Llewyn Davis, Spike Jonze for Her, and Alexander Payne for Nebraska.
The DGA Nominees for Best Director of a Feature Film are…
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
The DGA also awards directors for Television and Documentary Film. As of this this posting, those nominees have not been announced. I will update this page with that information when it becomes available.
EDIT 1/13/14 – Here are the documentary nominees…
Cutie and the Boxer
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
The Crash Reel