Oscar History

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DGA Howls for Scorsese, Russell and Three First-Timers

The Directors Guild of America, more commonly referred to as simply DGA, have announced their nominees for the film year, and the expected nominees prevailed… with the possible exception of the final slot, alphabetically and most in doubt, which went to Martin Scorsese for his controversial satire.

The nominees are…

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (first time DGA nominee)
  • Paul Greengrass, Captain Philllips (first time DGA nominee)
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (first time DGA nominee)
  • David O. Russell, American Hustle (second DGA nomination though curiously not honored in 2012 when Silver Linings Playbook was all the rage)
  • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street (12th DGA honor*)

In the past DGA nominees were literally the surest indication of which five movies would be nominated for Oscar’s Best Picture, even moreso than accurate bellweathers of what would happen in the director race itself. But since the upheavals in Academy voting since 2009, it’s tough to say what they mean anymore since Best Picture nominations are so much easier to come by. But whatever it means it is certainly not good news for the Coen brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), or Spike Jonze (Her) all of whom have been nominated by the DGA in previous years.

In the past four years (2009-2012) of the DGA nominations 15 of 20 of their selections went on to be Oscar nominated in the same category with 2012 being famously divisive between the two awards groups – only 2 of the DGA’s choices made it to the Oscar lineup in a real surprise shake-up. But despite those disagreements only 1 of the DGA’s 20 selections in the past four years did NOT receive a Best Picture nomination (David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which won five Oscar nominations and 1 actual statue) so all five of these movies are likely to be Best Picture nominated

… yes, even The Wolf of Wall Street despite the defensive game it’s been playing the media. The Wolf of Wall Street’s current situation has been compared to Zero Dark Thirty’s last year (both here and elsewhere) and Zero Dark Thirty, like Dragon Tattoo, went on to five Oscar nominations and 1 win. So smart money…and by smart money I mean “people who believe in crazy coincidences of Oscar numerology” should expect 5 nominations and one win for Wolf, though not in Best Director and maybe not in Best Picture. In short: we know not a damn thing about how this will play out!

* It’s worth noting that Martin Scorsese is a beloved icon to the Directors Guild of America, having won television, narrative feature, and documentary honors. They’ve been slightly more generous with him over the years than Oscar has. As with Oscar he’s only won their top prize once (also for The Departed) but they’ve given him a lifetime achievement prize as well as nominating him for two pictures that Oscar did not recognize him for: Taxi Driver and The Age of Innocence. The only time the Oscars recognized him when the DGA didn’t was for The Last Tempation of Christ.

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Reader Comments (18)

Scorsese out, Jonze in for the Oscars.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Safe choices. I hope the Oscars shake things up again in this category this year. I liked last year.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Alexander Payne was robbed. O. Russell should not be in here. Ugh.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

If Spike Jonze gets in at the Oscars does he take out Scorsese or Greengrass?

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Aaron -- i hope it's Scorsese. i admire Greengrass' crafstmanship so much more this year.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

I appreciate Greengrass, particularly for UNITED 93, but I'd have gone Coens.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik

Greengrass missed with the DGA in 2006 before becoming the "lone director" at the Oscars, so his getting into the DGA nominees this time is a strong sign for him.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

brookesboy - Off topic, but it's such a pet peeve that people always refer to David O. Russell as O. Russell as if it's O'Russell. It's like calling John Cameron Mitchell "C. Mitchell". O is just his middle name.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

It feels weird to think that Scorsese's work might actually be the weakest of the bunch.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

agree with mr nathaniel about scorsese though i wish it was russell who wasnt a lock. spike jonze should be nominated because he was so cute as the lead torrance community dancer in that old "praise you" video. just my informed web opinion.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

xander -- this is sound logic for why someone deserves an Oscar nomination. see also: Greta Gerwig in that Arcade Fire video. God, she's wonderful. Give her all the statues.

roark -- right? though obviously our opinion is in the minority

Suzanne -- i did too. People complained and complained about Oscar's nominees in that category but their surprise choices (Zeitlin & Haneke...though i predicted him) were worthier than the so-called snubs!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Russell does not belong here. I think Greengrass is going to get snubbed and Jonze or Payne will replace him. Though I would love to see Russell snubbed by the Academy.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

I think Scorsese or Greengrass gets knocked out. Still think Captain Phillips is the weakest top 5 contender and Sony cannot juggle two contending movies since they have Hustle. Marty's movie is the most polarizing but I would bet he has the biggest fan base in the directors guild. Besides, Hugo did better than anybody expected at the 2011 Oscars.

I usually just call Russell by DOR and leave it at that. But seriously guys, he ain't Irish. He's Russian Jewish-Italian Catholic atheist.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I sure hope this means DiCaprio's odds are better now!!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Amir--I know, it stands for Owen. But I always just call him that. With the period.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

xander, I just watched the "Praise You" video for the first time. Spike really is brilliant and, yes, cute! Give him that Oscar!

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

Into numbers?
The Oscar's Best Director nominees were identical to the DGA's lineup in 2005 and 2009. So every 4 years means again this year?..

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYonatan

I totally think we'll get a shake-up on Oscar nom morning. Those five above seem a bit too safe. And I think it'll totally be Scorsese as the one out but not sure if they'll be living for Her/Jonze as much as people think. Safest bet is Payne.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

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