The Directors Guild of America announced its TV Award nominations on Thursday (January 9) and while two “Breaking Bad” episodes made the cut, there may be some head-scratching about the directors who missed out.
Or, as an alternative perspective, it was a good DGA Awards nomination morning for Bryan Cranston.
In the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama Series category, Cranston is nominated for “Blood Money,” as is Vince Gilligan for the series finale “Felina.” The two “Breaking Bad” nominees are up against Lesli Linka Glatter for the “Homeland” season finale, David Nutter for the rather important “Rains of Castamere” episode of “Game of Thrones” and David Fincher for the “House of Cards” pilot.
[To take absolutely zero away from “Blood Money” or “Felina,” the absence of Rian Johnson’s “Ozymandias” work is a bit mind-boggling for me. Also missing from the “Breaking Bad” side is Michelle MacLaren, either for “Buried,” which I really liked, or “To’hajiilee,” which other people liked more than I did. As a “Mad Men” fan, I’d have included Matthew Weiner for “In Care Of.” As an “Orange Is The New Black” fan, I might have eyed Michael Trim for “F*cksgiving” or “Can’t Fix Crazy.” Making room for Gavin O’Connor’s work on the “Americans” pilot, James Whitmore for the the “Hitting the Fan” episode of “Good Wife” or Michael Watkins for the “Justified” hour “Decoy.” But those are just a few of the episodes I might have wanted to see highlighted. Ray McKinnon for “Rectify” probably wasn’t happening, so I won’t stress over that, nor do I think there was any real chance of David Slade getting a nod for the “Hannibal” pilot, but those pieces of directing were outstanding as well. Since I really hated the “Homeland” finale, I have no trouble saying which nominee I’d swap out. And I think Lesli Linka Glatter is a tremendous director.]
[Second bracketed thought: “Ozymandias” was also snubbed by the Writers Guild in their TV nominations and, again, two other “Breaking Bad” episodes were nominated. Now, to me, “Ozymandias” was the best TV drama episode of last year and that was in large part due to Moira Walley-Becket’s script and Rian Johnson’s direction. I’m not sure what to make of the disconnect between an episode that was also revered by fans and with the peers of the people who made it. If the guilds were shunning “Breaking Bad,” I could at least see why “Ozymandias” would be left out. “Mad Men” is pretty clearly being shunning by EVERYBODY at this point. But the guilds are honoring “Breaking Bad.” They just have different preferences. Maybe they figure since Rian Johnson won last year for “Fifty-One,” they wanted to honor somebody else? Shrug.]
Cranston is also up for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for his work on the “Modern Family” episode “The Old Man & The Tree,” the second year in a row that he’s been nominated for a “Modern Family” episode. Also up for “Modern Family” is Gail Mancuso for “My Hero.” “The Big Bang Theory” earned a pair of nominations as well, with Anthony Rich up for “The Love Spell Potential” and Mark Cendrowski for “The Hofstadter Insufficiency.” The category is rounded out by Beth McCarthy-Miller for the “30 Rock” finale.
[For me, I’d have included Ken Kwapis for the “Office” finale, perhaps Mitch Hurwitz for one of the better “Arrested Development” episodes, Richard Shepard for the “One Man’s Trash’ episode of “Girls” and Mike White for the “Enlightened” finale or “The Ghost Is Seen.”]
Beth McCarthy-Miller is also nominated with Rob Ashford for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for “The Sound of Music Live!” They’re going against a powerhouse slate featuring Stephen Frears (“Muhammad Ali”s Greatest Fight”), Steven Soderbergh (“Behind the Candelabra”), David Mamet (“Phil Spector”) and Nelson McCormick (“Killing Kennedy”).
[I’d have to see what was actually *eligible* in this category, but I can’t imagine that there wasn’t somebody I’d have put there over McCormick.]
The DGA handed out a slew of other nominations that I’m probably less qualified to critique.
In the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs category, the nominees are Matthew Bartley (“The Biggest Loser”), Neil P. DeGroot (“72 Hours”), Paul Starkman (“Top Chef”), J. Rupert Thompson (“The Hero”) and Bertram van Munster (“The Amazing Race”). Munster, Thompson and DeGroot are all former winners in this category.
For Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials, the nominees are Louis C.K. (“Oh My God”), Joel Galen (“2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony”), Louis J. Horvitz (The Grammys), Don Mischer (The Oscars) and Glenn Weiss (The Tonys). Louis C.K. is the only nominee in this category without a DGA win.
For Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming, the nominees are Dave Diomedi (“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”), Andy Fisher (“Jimmy Kimmel Live”), Jim Hoskinson (“The Colbert Report”), Don Roy King (“Saturday Night Live”) and Chuck O’Neil (“The Daily Show”).
For Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs, the nominees are Stephen Herek (“Jinxed”), Jeffrey Hornaday (“Teen Beach Movie”), Jonathan Judge (“Swindle”), Amy Schatz (“An Apology to Elephants”) and Adam Weissman (“A.N.T. Farm”).