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DGA Nominees

The nominations for the 64th annual Director's Guild Awards have been announced. Shortlisting here is one of the surest signs of industry support and future Oscar nominations for both directors and the films.

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
David Fincher for The Girl with dragon Tattoo
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
Martin Scorsese for Hugo

Who This Helps: Fincher and that girl with the tattoo. It's surging at the right time despite audiences not falling in love with it.
Who This Hurts: Spielberg who the DGA usually loves. If he didn't place here that's big trouble for War Horse.

The 64th Annual DGA Awards will take place on Saturday, January 28, 2012 in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Just four days after Oscar nominations are announced, someone will win this super coveted prize. And that remains a very big deal. The DGA, like so many other awards-giving bodies, is proud of their Oscar predictive status. They're official bragging rights go like so:

The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally been a near perfect barometer for the Best Director Academy Award. Only six times since the DGA Award's inception has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award:


Spielberg has 6 Oscar nominations and 2 wins for directing. He's even more popular with the DGA with 10 noms and 3 wins for the same filmography..1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar® for Oliver!. 1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA's nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret. 1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa. 1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters cited Mel Gibson for Braveheart. In 2001 Ang Lee took home the DGA Award for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, while the Oscar went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. In 2003 Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist, but the DGA Award went to Rob Marshall for Chicago.

Looking over that list it's clear to me (though your take may vary) that when Oscar differs from the DGA it's a toss up as to whether or not it's an improvement. A toss up leaning Oscar's way.

P.S. The nominations for television, documentary and commercial directorial achievements will be announced tomorrow. 

Related Page: Best Director Oscar Predictions which will obviously need to be updated now. Predicting awardage during a blissfully volatile awards season, is like making your bed every morning. A beautiful cozy bed that you can't wait to sleep in again. Loving this year!


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Reader Comments (34)

I was totally expecting Malick to get in. I'm confused.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Malick is still safe for Oscar imo. DGA mirrors Oscar's Best Picture nominees far more often than in directing.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyanSt

Polanski was most definitely an improvement and a welcome surprise. This year, I'm holding out for a Malick nom.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzig

Fincher over Malick? Hell, over Lars von Trier?

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

Worst. Oscar season. Ever.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

They play it safe. Wouldn't it be more exciting to include Fukunaga, McQueen or Winding Refn?

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

This could also mean no best pic nomination for the awful "War Horse." And I think Sarah Jessica Parker's chances as Best Actress in "War Horse" are diminishing fast.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

i still believe Malick is in even though the film might not be. it could be the case this year with a lone director nomination!

i think Fincher's nom here suggests industry love for GIRL WITH DRAGON TATTOO. with that, i think this really helps Rooney Mara's chances

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkent

If Dragon Tattoo gets nominated for Picture/Director, I cannot fathom what Awards Daily is going to to turn into for the next month and a half.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

And I agree with Kent-Mara is in, I'm just not sure if it's Close or Swinton that is out-my head says Close, my gut says Swinton.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

People are going to go crazy dropping War Horse from their BP predictions. Maybe that's a smart move, but I'm not 100% certain either way yet. They did get the (admittedly 10-wide) PGA, which also uses the preferential voting system.

Otherwise, the weird thing for me this year is that my favorite directing jobs are nothing like my favorite movies-- all the films that were too problematic for me to love, usually due to writing, are ending up in my dream picks for Best Director.

(What's with all the italics, btw?)

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Oh yes!! Woody is back after 17 years!! YAY!

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.D

No longer surprise nominations on Oscar morning: Dragon Tattoo in Picture, Direction and Actress--the question is, who does Mara bump out? Close or Swinton?

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbia

No Malick.


I really hope this doesn't signal the death of Tree of Life's Oscar prospects, but I fear it does.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris? Such a mediocre film. MIdnight in the land of wasted opportunities! Over Terrence Malick???

This is a year of flawed films, okay....and Tree of LIfe lost me at the ending....but, Midnight In Paris was one of the most disappointing films I saw, after all the great buzz I believed Woody was back. But he's not, and he's not ever going to be so we need to give it up!!

And on top of that, Woody doesn't even direct his films anymore EVERYONE knows that!

The DP should be the only person considered for anything on that film. Beautifully shot! Oh and the marketing department at Sony....brilliant job of convincing the world this was a brilliant film.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPepe

This should line up with Oscar save for at least one exception.

I don't know who gets bumped, however. Perhaps Fincher, but he's kind of on fire right now. And the critics and guilds (and a well-time DVD release) have given Midnight in Paris crazy staying power.

If I had to guess, I'd say Fincher gets bumped for any of the following four:

Tate Taylor, The Help
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I say Daldry not because his movie is some incredible achievement in directing, but because the Academy rides Daldry's nuts at every opportunity, even if the movie is underwhelming or has no traction/time to build traction. He's three-for-three in this category in his last three directorial efforts, and he got in for The Reader with almost no momentum or even any time left for building up momentum (much less for sending out screeners), which has me thinking people in the Academy just vote for Daldry and for his movies sight unseen. It's a scary thought, and hey, he's a good director, but he's jacked SO many spots from directors infinitely more deserving than he was in a given year, and the reasons continually escape me. So it wouldn't surprise me to see him make the cut.

But yeah, after this, Spielberg is definitely out of the race. War Horse itself might still make the cut come Oscar nomination morning, but unless Spielberg pulls a Munich and gets a sudden groundswell of industry support at the last minute, he'll be sitting this one out.

Oh, and @JohnT:

Agreed. I love that place to death, but it's about to get insufferable if Fincher starts surging, especially since everyone will acknowledge that he can't win but still complain anyway when he doesn't. I think I'll be sticking with this Nathaniel and with Kris Tapley for the rest of the season, which has been kind of an awesome season so far. I'm not as sold on "The Artist" being locked up for the win as a lot of people seem to be. It's absolutely still the one to beat, but a lot can happen between January and February (as if last year didn't teach us that already).

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacob

I guess I'm not the only one who can't stand AwardsDaily constant Fincher love. I love Fincher's works (Seven, Fight Club, Social Network, Zodiac), but if you try to voice a different opinion on that website, you instantly get criticized. I know it's Ms. Stone's website, and she can say whatever she wants to (she even said something along that line), but I think a blog should accommodate different point of views unless they are obviously rude...

Anyways, disappointed that Malick didn't get nominated.....I like Midnight in Paris, but I like the writing more than the direction.....politely admired Hugo, but the movie is least no Taylor for the Help.....too bad no von Trier, Refn...and I was secretly hoping for Sean Durkin, or the director of a Separation.....

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarshall1

This is a fascinating year. Trying to think about potential Best Picture nominees, I can't figure out who'd be the sixth nominee-- there are five or so films jockeying for that spot. Does that means a lot of them will get in and we'll have a big number of nominees, or does that mean we'll be left with an anticlimactic five?

Very interesting...

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

This is good news for Mara Rooney, bad news for Glenn Close.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Pepe -- i'm not sure i follow the "woody doesn't direct his films anymore. everyone knows that." thing since i most certainly do not know that and i write about movies all the time. what are you referring to?

brandz -- then again. these are film and television directors voting and not actors. different nominating mindsets.

Jacob -- interesting who he gets bumped for but i'm still thinking it's REFN or MALICK for the fifth spot. Taylor's best shot was obviously right here at the DGA.

Evan -- the italics were an accidnet. I was typing this from an AMPAS luncheon while trying to have conversations with voters and fucked it up. ;)

January 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel, no problem. I didn't mind that your post was italicized... just surprised it started italicizing everyone else's posts too. Computers are weird.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

DGA likes Spielberg even more than the Academy does. He got Jaws and Amistad nominations from DGA, plus DGA gave him the win for The Color Purple.

Not saying he's out necessarily, because War Horse plays right to the Academy, but when he can't get the nomination from a guild that demonstrably loves him? MAJOR red flag.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Some baffling choices from the guilds so far. For once I am hoping that the BFCA will be more indicative of the Oscars this year.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternic

I'm wondering if Fincher's nomination is industry love for the film or is it a collective "we're sorry" about last year?

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I was hoping Winding Refn would surprise here. Damn.

I still say Malick gets in.

Glad to see War Horse all but gone.

The Dragon Tattoo support probably means more for Rooney and the film than Fincher although his showing here is certainly a surprise.

TBH though, none of those DGA nominees would make my list. Not one and I find that strange since there's always one or two each year at least.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Why should Mara bump anyone out? I don't see the Fincher ultimately getting nominated. The film, yes, not Finch. As for Mara, I think there's way too much industry support for Swinton and Close.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAudrie

All this industry love for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a bit baffling, since I found the film to be mediocre albeit stylishly directed and sharply edited. I think we're looking at a Rooney Mara Lead Actress nomination and she comes at the expense of Close. Tilda is getting considering she is a frontrunner for BAFTA and she will carry a lot of the British voting block (like Gary Oldman will, mark my words). Davis and Williams have gobs of industry support right now and the Academy automatically reserves a spot for Meryl every year, so we're looking at Davis, Williams, Streep, Swinton, and Mara as the final five. Close is toast.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Tilda is getting in* (sorry for the typo)

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I don't think Malick is going to get in after all. He wasn't even shortlisted for the BAFTA's, and if even the DGA, which was the one branch that was going to go for this film if any of them were going to, didn't even nominate him, then I don't see him making the cut. Strangely, however, I still think The Tree of Life could make it in for Best Picture just based on having enough #1 votes from the small percentage of the Academy that actually does love the movie. It would be kind of a slap in the face, though, if the movie got in for Best Picture but Malick didn't get in for Director, considering how much of a director's movie it is.

Fincher isn't safe for a Best Director nomination since this is the only big one he's gotten thus far, but with PGA, DGA, and WGA nominations, I think Dragon Tattoo is probably in for Best Picture. I say it gets 5 nominations for Picture, Actress, Film Editing, Cinematography, and Original Score, with Director and Adapted Screenplay being possibilities as well (but not ones that I'm predicting).

Also, I'd be very surprised if Tate Taylor wound up nominated for Best Director. The Academy's director branch has historically been considerably riskier and more auteur-friendly than the DGA, so if Taylor couldn't even get in here, I just don't see it happening with the Academy, barring a really bizarre all-out lovefest for The Help.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn-Paul

On second thought, I retract my statement about Malick not getting in. No matter what it looks like on paper, he's exactly the type of director who could defy statistics and get in regardless. I'm not saying it will happen, but there have certainly been bigger surprises in this category.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn-Paul

A good director makes a good movie. And a good movie captures the hearts of many people. It's not necessarily spending a lot, but making good movie story.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterplumbing

I don't think War Horse is gone. I think it'll be one of those films that everyone writes off due to lack of precursor support yet surprises with a nomination anyway. It doesn't stand a chance at winning, but I think it could go the way of "The Reader" or "Atonement".

As for "Dragon Tattoo", I'm torn. I don't think it's worthy at all of its now-inevitable Best Picture nomination, but there's something about Fincher being a perennial nominee all of a sudden that makes me really happy.

January 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterW

I am referring to the fact that many actors he works with say he doesn't tell them anything or give them direction, and just knowing that he hardly talks to anyone...and he doesn't really engage on his films anymore. He is doing less and less on his films and seems strangely ambivalent..and I think it shows.

I absolutely love old Woody movies....but, in my opinion, this one was a very pale imitation of classic Woody. I thought it was lazy and unfinished and as I said, full of wasted opportunities. Let's face it....Woody is old, and just keeps on swimming, but I think his best years are behind him as a director.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPepe

"The Tree of Life" was too divisive (and for me, bloody awful) to get Malick into director. He couldn't make it here, so I think it'll be an even tougher climb with the Academy. But David Fincher? Say what? "Tattoo" was quite unnecessary and one of his worst films. I thought for sure they'd go with their precious Spielberg again. Guess not.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel
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