The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is notable in the season for a number of reasons. First, it's a massive voting body unlike most on the circuit, so their nominations choices can often hint toward consensus. Second, their winner very often goes on to win the Academy Award for Best Director, which as we all know tends to presage the Best Picture Oscar. But…
…one wonders how those two elements are being viewed as of late. After all, the last two years have seen a split, once by necessity (“Argo” director Ben Affleck was not nominated), the second time in a close race. Could it be that the Academy will start looking at these categories differently rather than as a package deal?
Maybe, maybe not. I have no real answers there. I'm just asking the question.
Anyway, the DGA nominated mostly expected names today. Clint Eastwood, naturally. “American Sniper” is cruising. Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater, of course. Two of the most dominant forces on the circuit. And add Wes Anderson to that, whose “Grand Budapest Hotel” has only missed with the Annie Awards (duh) and the Cinema Audio Society where industry honors are concerned. And then… Morten Tyldum. That ought to do plenty to shake off any lingering doubt that “The Imitation Game” is strong this year.
I had expected my current predicted lineup — Chazelle in place of Anderson — so nothing shocking here. But I do wonder how the Academy will shake it up. Just repeating some notes that we've covered before: It's worth it to remember that the DGA is a much, much broader group than the Academy's directors branch. That roughly 400-member group can make eclectic choices, like going for Michael Haneke, David O. Russell and Benh Zeitlin over DGA nominees Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hooper two years ago. But a Best Picture win for a film not nominated by the DGA is virtually unheard of: the only films to do so are Bruce Beresford's “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989 and Laurence Olivier's “Hamlet” in 1948.
Check out the nominees below. Winners will be unveiled on Feb. 7. And as ever, catch all the rest of the season's offerings at The Circuit.
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Unit Production Manager: Miki Emmrich
First Assistant Director: Josh Robertson
Second Assistant Director: Ben Howard
Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper”
Unit Production Manager: Tim Moore
First Assistant Director: David M. Bernstein
Second Assistant Director: Paula Case
Second Second Assistant Director: Clark Credle
First Assistant Director (Morocco Unit): Ahmed Hatimi
Second Assistant Director (Morocco Unit): Yann Mari Faget
Second Second Assistant Directors (Morocco Unit): Andrew Madden, Khalil Zghayou