Nominees have been announced for the 67th Directors Guild of America Awards. The Directors Guild (DGA) consists of nearly 15,000 members (including a 300+ plus overlap within the Academy’s Directors Branch) and are considered the biggest harbinger in the awards race. The reason behind it is in the stats – the DGA winner historically wins the Best Directing Academy Award, which in turn is typically the Academy’s Best Picture victor. Looking deeper, only eight times in DGA history has the victor not won the Best Director Oscar and only three times has the winner not been at least nominated for the Best Director Academy Award (the last time was notably when Ben Affleck’s DGA-winning work in Argo was snubbed by the Academy even though the film still won Best Picture). So for anyone trying to win their office Oscar pool this year, pay close attention to the DGA results.
The nominee are:
- Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
- Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
- Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
- Richard Linklater, Boyhood
- Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
The big surprise of the group is likely Clint Eastwood, whose late-breaking American Sniper hasn’t particularly caught on with the critics, but has with audiences in limited release where it’s been earning record-breaking grosses. The war drama – based on the true story of Chris Kyle – has done well with the guilds (earning nods from the Producers Guild, Writers Guild and American Cinema Editors), so this isn’t a huge shock. This is Eastwood’s fourth DGA nod – he won the prize for 1992’s Unforgiven and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby, films that won both the Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards. Iñárritu, a shoe-in for an Oscar nominations for Birdman, received his third DGA nomination today. He was previously nominated by the guild for his sprawling 2006 drama Babel (for which he also received an Oscar nomination for) and received an award for directing a 2012 Proctor and Gamble commercial. Anderson, Linklater and Tyldum are all receiving their first DGA nominations for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, and The Imitation Game, respectively.
Of the group of directors missing out on a nomination this morning, likely the biggest and most controversial snub is Selma director Ava DuVernay. The movie, based on the true story of the Selma civil rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr., has been easily the most battered awards contender of the season. From the cries of historical inaccuracy that have plagued the film for weeks, to its near invisible showing with the guilds (Selma has only been nominated by the Costume Designers and Make-up and Hairstyling Guilds). While DuVernay (and the film) received multiple Golden Globe and Indie Spirit nominations, its Oscar profile has certainly taken a hit in the past few weeks. Not helping matters is the fact that screeners for the film weren’t made available to the various guilds (because the film wasn’t entirely locked) until shortly before its Christmas Day release date. (Note: Academy members did receive screeners of Selma).
Among the other directors snubbed include Golden Globe nominee David Fincher (Gone Girl), BAFTA nominees Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) and James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), Critics Choice nominee Angelina Jolie (Unbroken), and Cannes winner Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher). Last year, Alfonso Cuarón won the top prize for Gravity – he also won the Best Director Academy Award, however 12 Years a Slave ended up winning the Best Picture Oscar. The DGA ceremony will take place on February 7, 2015.