Here are the DGA Nominations!


The Director’s Guild announced their nominations for 2018 earlier today.

Typically, getting a DGA nomination tends to translate into a film also getting a Best Picture nomination from the Academy.  There’s been some exceptions, of course.  David Fincher somehow received a DGA nom for his work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but the Academy was not quite as enamored.  Personally, I’m hoping that, this year, Adam McKay will get the David Fincher treatment.  McKay may have picked up a DGA nom for Vice but that doesn’t mean that the film’s actually any good.  In fact, I’d say that Vice is one of smuggest, most self-congratulatory films that I’ve ever seen but I’ll save all that for my review.

Anyway, here are the DGA nominations!  For Best Director of a Feature Film:

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Spike Lee, BlackKklansman

Adam McKay, Vice

Can you believe that, until today, Spike Lee has never received a nomination for the DGA?  Interestingly, BlackKklansman is one of his weaker films but it’s also definitely more of a mainstream crowd pleaser than some of his previous work, which I imagine is why he received a nomination for it and not Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

This is also the first nomination for both Cooper and Peter Farrelly.  With Cooper, that makes sense because this is the first film that he’s ever directed.  But how did the Guild fail to nominate Peter Farrelly for that movie where Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins?

This was Cuaron’s second nomination.  It was also McKay’s second nomination, despite the fact Adam McKay hasn’t made a good film since The Other Guys.

Here are the nominations for Best First Time Director:

Bo Burhnam, Eighth Grade

Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born

Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting

Matthew Heineman, A Private War

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

For everyone who is hoping to see Black Panther become the first comic book movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s hard not to be disappointed by the snubbing of Ryan Coogler.  A DGA nomination would have really Black Panther with the members of the Academy who might still be hesitant about the idea of honoring a Marvel film.

Personally, I would have replaced Adam McKay with Ryan Coogler.  For that matter, I would have replaced Adam McKay with just about anyone else who had a film released last year.  Lynne Ramsay.  Debra Granik.  Yorgos Lanthimos.  The Russo Brothers.  Peyton Reed.  Who directed The Equalizer 2?  I’m not sure but I’d nominate him before I nominated Adam McKay.  Hell, I’d even build a time machine and bring Ed Wood and Phil Tucker into the present and have them collaborate on a movie about a haunted laundromat before I gave that fifth slot to Adam McKay.

Anyway, should I try to make a prediction?  Okay: Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director for Roma while Bradley Cooper is named Best First-Time Director for A Star is Born.

Here Are The DGA nominations!


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The Director’s Guild announced their feature film nominations earlier today.

A DGA nomination is one of the biggest prizes of the precursor season.  In general, if the DGA nominates a film then it’s likely that film will also get nominated for best picture.  There have been exceptions, of course.  (David Fincher was nominated for his bastardized rehash of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)  But, for the most part, the DGA is the most reliable precursor available.

Five directors were nominated.  The usual suspects were there — Lonergan, Jenkins, and Chazelle.  Fortunately, Denis Villeneuve picked up a nomination, which is good news for Arrival.  The fifth nominee was a bit of a surprise.  Garth Davis was nominated for Lion, which I guess means I’ll have to go see that movie now, even though I have little real desire to do so.

Martin Scorsese was not nominated for Silence, which probably means that the film will be dead-in-the-water as far as Oscar nominations are concerned.

Also not nominated — Tim Miller for Deadpool, a film that’s been doing surprisingly well with the precursors.  If Tim Miller had been nominated, heads would have exploded.  It would have been fun to watch the twitter reaction.

Instead, we just got this —

Just to make it official, here are the five DGA nominees:

Denis Villeneuve — Arrival

Damien Chazelle — La La Land

Garth Davis — Lion

Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester By The Sea

Barry Jenkins — Moonlight

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Here’s Who Won At The DGA (or The Unexpected Virtue of Making History)


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The Director’s Guild of America handed out their awards tonight and history was made!  (And the Oscar race got a little bit more complicated.)  First off, Alex Garland won the award for Best First-Time Feature Director for Ex Machina.  Then Cartel Land somehow defeated Amy for Best Documentary Direction.

And then Alejandro G. Inarritu was named Best Director for The Revenant!  This makes Inarritu the first film director to ever win back-to-back awards from the Director’s Guild.  As you may remember, he previously won for Birdman and when was the last time anyone thought about that damn movie?  (For the record, I thought the Revenant was far superior to Birdman.)

So, to recap, the Production Guild gave its top award to The Big Short.

The SAG gave its top award for Spotlight.

And now, the DGA — which is traditionally the most reliable of all the precursors — gave its top award to The Revenant!

In other words, for the first time in my lifetime, there are three films that seem to have a legitimate shot at winning best picture when the Oscars are awarded later this month.

Of the 8 films that were nominated, my personal favorite would be Brooklyn, which realistically has no chance of winning the top prize.  (Carol was my favorite film of the year but it was not nominated.)  However, there’s a part of me that still hopes that — despite not winning at the PGA or the DGA — Mad Max: Fury Road will pull off an upset.  Sadly, that probably won’t happen.  Not only would a Mad Max victory be a nice (and popular) surprise but it would completely redefine the stodgy old assumptions about what type of films qualify for Oscar consideration.

If The Big Short wins, it will be the biggest travesty since the victory of Crash.

Birdman wins at the DGA!


Need to kill some time?  Look through all the posts since November and count up how many times this picture has appeared on the site!

For those of you following the Oscar race, Birdman‘s director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, won the Director’s Guild Award last night.  Over the past few weeks, Birdman has pretty much swept the guild awards, also winning the PGA and the SAG awards.

(Interestingly enough, Michael Keaton was not named Best Actor at SAG.  That award went to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory Of Everything.)

So, it would appear that — as far as 2014 was concerned — Boyhood was the critics favorite and Birdman was the industry’s favorite.  And, since it’s the industry who votes on the Oscars, Birdman has to be considered the Oscar front-runner as well.  For all the talk about how the Oscar race is wide-open this year, it’s actually proving to be pretty predictable.

(Unless, of course, those rumors of a sudden surge for American Sniper prove to be true…)

Myself, I prefer Boyhood to Birdman and I think that future film students will agree with me.  But, I can understand why the industry would embrace Birdman.  After all, it’s about an artist who is unfairly targeted by a vindictive critic and who is still suffering because he was forced to appear in a mindless blockbuster.  I imagine that’s the way that a lot of Academy voters probably think of themselves.  There’s really not much going on underneath the surface of Birdman but never doubt the value of appealing to the industry’s ego.

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Here are the DGA winners!


The Director’s Guild Awards were given out today and Alfonso Cuaron was named best director for Gravity.  For those of you looking for some guidance while trying to predict the closest Oscar race in history, Gravity has now won honors from the DGA and the PGA, American Hustle took top honors at the SAG Awards, and 12 Years A Slave was honored by the PGA (where it tied for best picture with Gravity).

So does Gravity have the momentum now?  Perhaps.  However, Cuaron’s victory isn’t exactly a surprise.  In fact, since before the Oscar nominations were first announced two weeks ago, a lot of Oscar watchers have been predicting that Gravity would win best director while 12 Years A Slave or American Hustle took best picture.

Or perhaps, even more intriguingly, perhaps American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years A Slave could end up splitting the vote and allow one of the other 6 nominees to somehow win a totally unexpected victory.*

Anything’s possible but, for now, here are the DGA winners:

FILM AWARDS

FEATURE FILM 
X — Alfonso Cuarón – “Gravity”
Paul Greengrass – “Captain Phillips”
Steve McQueen – “12 Years a Slave”
David O. Russell – “American Hustle”
Martin Scorsese – “The Wolf of Wall Street”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Zachary Heinzerling – “Cutie and the Boxer”
X — Jehane Noujaim – “The Square”
Joshua Oppenheimer – “The Act of Killing”
Sarah Polley -–”Stories We Tell”
Lucy Walker – “The Crash Reel”

TELEVISION AWARDS 

DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston – “Breaking Bad” (“Blood Money”)
David Fincher – “House of Cards” (“Chapter 1”)
X — Vince Gilligan – “Breaking Bad” (“Felina”)
Lesli Linka Glatter – “Homeland” (“The Star”)
David Nutter – “Game of Thrones” (“The Rains of Castamere”)

COMEDY SERIES

Mark Cendrowski – “The Big Bang Theory” (“The Hofstadter Insufficiency”)
Bryan Cranston – “Modern Family” (“The Old Man & the Tree”)
Gail Mancuso – “Modern Family” (“My Hero”)
X — Beth McCarthy-Miller – “30 Rock” (“Hogcock!/Last Lunch”)
Anthony Rich – “The Big Bang Theory” (“The Love Spell Potential”)

MOVIE/MINISERIES
Stephen Frears – “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”
David Mamet – “Phil Spector”
Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford – “The Sound of Music”
Nelson McCormick – “Killing Kennedy”
X — Steven Soderbergh – “Behind the Candelabra”

VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SERIES
Dave Diomedi – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” (#799)
Andy Fisher – “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (#13-1810)
Jim Hoskinson – “The Colbert Report” (#10004)
X — Don Roy King – “Saturday Night Live” (“Host: Justin Timberlake”)
Chuck O’Neil – “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (#19018)

VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIALS
Louis CK – “Louis CK: Oh My God”
Joel Gallen – “2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony”
Louis J. Horvitz – “55th Annual Grammy Awards”
Don Mischer – “85th Annual Academy Awards”
X — Glenn Weiss – “67th Annual Tony Awards”

REALITY
Matthew Bartley – “The Biggest Loser” (“1501”)
X — Neil P. DeGroot – “72 Hours” (“The Lost Coast”)
Paul Starkman – “Top Chef” (“Glacial Gourmand”)
J. Rupert Thompson – “The Hero” (“Teamwork”)
Bertram van Munster – “The Amazing Race” (“Beards in the Wind”)

CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS
Stephen Herek – “Jinxed”
Jeffrey Hornaday – “Teen Beach Movie”
Jonathan Judge – “Swindle”
X — Amy Schatz – “An Apology to Elephants”
Adam Weissman – “A.N.T. Farm” (“influANTces”)

COMMERCIALS
Fredrik Bond
John X. Carey
Noam Murro
X — Martin de Thurah
Matthijs van Heijningen

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*However, the best film of the year remains the unnominated Upstream Color.