Tag Archives: DGA

Alfonso Cuarón Wins DGA, Gravity Takes Lead for Oscar

Gravity-2Alfonso Cuarón won the Outstanding Director of a Motion Picture prize at the Director’s Guild Awards last night. With that win we now have a frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars, but it’s still a tenuous lead.

The DGA’s were the third of the three most important guild awards to announce, after last week’s SAG and PGA ceremonies. In a sense, my outrageous prediction that each of the top three films would win one of those – American Huslte for SAG, 12 Years a Slave for PGA, and Gravity for DGA – actually proved true! But that’s not the whole story, as the PGA awarded a tie to both 12 Years AND Gravity. That means instead of a 3-way tie, the latter has a narrow half-point lead going into the home stretch.

History tells us that whatever wins the DGA will win BP at the Oscars. Recent history tells us the same for PGA. On top of that, we know Picture/Director splits at the Oscars are extremely rare and hard to predict. With that in mind, after straying out on a limb to predict that crazy guild split, I’m going to quit while I’m somewhat ahead play it safe for my Oscar prediction. I predict Gravity will win Best Picture and Best Director.

Still that is a very tough call to make. Its lead is slight at best. It’s also missing an all-important screenplay nomination. (It’s very rare for a film to win BP without being at least nominated for its screenplay.) Many pundits are still predicting a split, with 12 Years taking BP. But going back to history again, usually when there’s a split, the DGA winner actually ends up going on the win Picture, not Director.

This is an unprecedented quandary. Hell, even Hustle could still slip in and steal all the glory. But in the sea of uncertainty, I feel safest anchoring my predictions to Gravity.

The next most important guild awards are the ACE Eddies (American Cinema Editors). Being a very showy technical piece, Gravity is expected to win that too. Going forward it looks like it’s lead will get continually stronger as it expectedly sweeps the more minor technical guilds – Cinematography, Sound, etc.

Here’s the full list of DGA winners…

Feature Film – Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”
Documentary – Jehane Noujaim, “The Square”
Movies for Television and Miniseries – Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra”
Dramatic Series – Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” – “Felina”
Comedy Series – Beth McCarthy-Miller, “30 Rock” – “Hogcock!/Last Lunch”
Variety/Talk/News/Sports — Regularly Scheduled Programming – Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live with Host Justin Timberlake”
Variety/Talk/News/Sports — Specials – Glenn Weiss, “The 67th annual Tony Awards”
Reality Programs – Neil P. DeGroot, “72 Hours” – “The Lost Coast”
Children’s Programs – Amy Schatz, “An Apology to Elephants”
Commercials – Martin de Thurah, Epoch Films
“The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down,” Hennessy VS – Droga5
“Human Race,” Acura MDX 2014 – Mullen
Robert B. Aldrich Award – Steven Soderbergh
Frank Capra Achievement Award – Lee Blaine
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award – Vincent DeDario
Diversity Award – Shonda Rhimes & Betsy Beers

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DGA Nominations


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 Square
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
The Crash Reel

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