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« Beauty vs Beast: Lesbian Love Song | Main | Comment Party Fun: What will Meryl Streep's Oscar ballot look like? »
Monday
Feb042019

DGA: The Spikes (Jonze & Lee), Bradley Cooper's Loss, and the Gowns (yes, the gowns)

by Nathaniel R

The big news coming out of the weekend's DGA ceremony was not Alfonso Cuarón's second win from the Director's Guild (he previously took the DGA for Gravity and had won nearly every award of note for Roma, making a repeat a foregone deal). Instead it was Bradley Cooper's surprise loss for First Time Feature A Star is Born and Spike Lee's speeches, which inevitably have a way of shaking up a room because Spike Lee always says what he has to say, unapologetically. The best element of the non-televised DGA ceremony is that they make a big deal of the nominees and not just the winner, giving all 5 top nominees a moment at the mic and a presentation of their nomination in medal form...

FEATURE FILM Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

While a win for Spike Lee would have been sweet given his long career and Cuaron's previous DGA and Oscar wins, it was not to be. Cuarón has previously won the Oscar, the BAFTA, Globe, Critics Choice, and DGA  for Gravity and it looks like he'll repeat all those prizes for Roma

One more note on Spike Lee. The Oscars get a lot of justified flack about not honoring his directing skills earlier than they did (it took an Honorary two years ago) but it's worth noting that this problem was not contained to just AMPAS. The ONLY televised awards group that nominated Spike Lee for Best Director for his first masterpiece (Do the Right Thing) was the Golden Globes. So next time you feel like dissing them, just remember that they sometimes are ahead of the curve. The only critics organizations that honored Spike Lee that year were the Los Angeles and Chicago Film Critics Associations.

FIRST TIME FEATURE Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade


I got a little flak on twitter when I expressed dismay that Bradley Cooper has not been able to win anything this season. I'm afraid my outburst was misunderstood as I am a huge fan of Eighth Grade and would probably have voted for Burnham myself here. It's thrilling that he has a major industry prize for that considerable achievement. AND YET. It doesn't make sense that Hollywood is unwilling to hand Cooper anything, including this, considering that they also nominated him in Best Director and did NOT nominate Bo Burnham there. Bo Burnham seems to have understood this with his acceptance speech when he made the reference to his win being "mathematically impossible"

Nevertheless congratulations to Bo Burnham who really should have been nominated for Original Screenplay at the Oscars and wasn't. 

DOCUMENTARY Tim Wardle, Three Identical Strangers

Sometimes the DGA objects when Oscar stiffs one of their own (Three Identical Strangers failed to nab an Oscar nod for Best Documentary, despite being such a huge theatrical hit) and gives them the prize. See also Ron Howard (Apollo 13) and Ben Affleck (Argo) winning after Oscar denied them nominations... though obviously that did not help Bradley Cooper this year, possibly because he's a newbie to their ranks. The Academy's directing branch seems to have wised up that if you nominate a very famous actor for directing they will win given the size of the acting branch (see Beatty, Costner, Redford, Gibson) so now they just don't nominate them (Affleck, Cooper).

DRAMA SERIES Adam McKay, Succession "Celebration"

Unlike his fellow double-nominee Bradley Cooper, McKay actually did get his consolation prize for losing Best Director. This is his first win following three nominations (the others for Vice and The Big Short)

COMEDY SERIES Bill Hader, Barry "Chapter One: Make Your Mark"

MOVIES FOR TELEVISION Ben Stiller, Escape from Dannemora

Dannemora's awards dominance is a reminder that no matter how much hoopla there is surrounding a TV / miniseries (Hello, Sharp Objects) it is never guaranteed awards dominance because something else might just catch on even more with the industry. This is Stiller's first nomination and win with the DGA. His only other citation to date for the directing portion of his career was a Razzie nomination for Zoolander 2 (2016)

VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORT - REGULARLY PROGRAM Don Roy King, SNL "Adam Driver; Kanye West"

This is King's 13th nomination and 5th win (all noms & wins from Saturday Night Live

VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS - SPECIALS Louis J Horvitz, the 60th Grammy Awards

This was Horvitz's 18th DGA nomination and second win. A full half of his nominations come from his year's directing the Oscars (1998-2008). He previously won for directing the Kennedy Center Honors of 1997 (the  ceremony with Lauren Bacall, Charlton Heston, and Jessye Norman among others as honorees)

REALITY PROGRAM Russell Norman, The Final Table "Japan"

CHILDREN'S PROGRAM Jack Jameson, Sesame Street "When You Wish Upon a Pickle"

COMMERCIALS Spike Jonze, "Welcome Home, Apple Homepod"

Spike accepting his award with the actor Dennis Haysbert

This altogether magical commercial starring FKA Twigs is Jonze's third nomination and first win (he was previously nominated for Being John Malkovich and for multiple commercials in 2005). And once again we must ask: WHERE IS THE MOVIE MUSICAL DIRECTED BY SPIKE JONZE? WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOREVER. HE HAS THE GIFT THAT SO FEW HAVE IN COMBINING CINEMA WITH DANCE AND MUSICAL TRANSCENDENCE (see also his many awesome music videos) He would blow Hollywood's current go-to movie musical directors off the screen if he ever made one and people might finally realize that directing musicals requires a very unique skillset. 

EXIT BEAUTY

Linda Cardellini and Sarah Paulson having a laugh at the DGA partyMarina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio still out there with Alfonso Cuarón every time! (It's a good thing actors and directors are paid well because they sure have to take a lot of time out of their lives during awards season if they have a contender.

Here are some more of the gowns from the DGA ceremony. During the guild awards actresses are always on hand to bolster their own campaigns, network, or just be there for loved ones / collaborators. And, of course, female directors (some of them also actresses) attend this particular ceremony though sadly none of them won this year. Female directors nominated this year were Betsy West & Julie Cohen (RBG), Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo), Daina Reed (Handmaid's Tale), Lesli Link Glatter (Homeland), Amy Sherman-Palladino (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel), and Beth McCarthy-Miller (Bill Maher: Live from Oklahoma)

DGA nominees: Betsy West, Julie Cohen, Daina Reed, and Amy Sherman-Palladino

Laura Harrier, Catherine O'Hara, Constance Wu, AJ Cook

Did you know that Catherine O'Hara's husband is the great Production Designer Bo Welch? I hadn't realized this or had just forgotten it. He's been up for four Oscars in the past for frankly stellar work (The Color Purple, A Little Princess, The Birdcage, and Men in Black), and is a BAFTA winner (Production Design on Edward Scissorhands). And this year he had his first DGA nomination for directing with A Series of Unfortunate Events  "Ersatz Elevator: Part One" episode. 


Lisa Edelstein, Aisha Tayler, Linda Cardellini, and Sarah Paulson
Christine Lahti and Dame Helen Mirren

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Reader Comments (19)

Clint Eastwood, the Academy's (and other awards bodies) poster child for successful movie star turned director, made 12 full-length feature films before his first direction awards citation (according to IMDB) - a Golden Globe nomination for Bird. Some of them were pretty darn great too - Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter among them. Unforgiven blew the doors open - when he was 52 years old.

There is an industry-backlash occuring with Bradley Cooper. I have no doubt. And I believe it is rooted in the collective idea that this is too much-too fast for a male movie star, and we want to see him continue directing good movies and we'll reward him for it later.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I wouldn't have voted for Cooper in either director category, but it IS shocking that someone not nominated for the main prize would beat someone who was. I suppose the nomination process involved a different set of people than the awards process and that's why.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

It is even more interesting all the performer-turned-director winners this year (Burnham, Hader, Stiller) with Cooper left out in the cold.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

OMG, can we please get a thread up ASAP about Liam Neeson going off the rails during his press interview for Cold Pursuit?

Is his career over? That was sickening, and not in the good way. :-(

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

I should see Eight Grade again. I'm sorry but the first viewing (in theaters) I saw nothing but overdone working and a film that was confused about its tone.

Also, I think the Dad was mostly poor.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I realize I am in the minority here, but I think Cooper's direction was a weak point of ASIB. His acting, on the other hand, was top notch. Best male performance of the year, if you ask me.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

@Me: I was not a big fan of Eighth Grade either. I at least think it's overrated.

@CharlieG: Agreed on Cooper's direction and his acting performance.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

@DAVID-
The Liason Neeson thing is very upsetting. I don't know if he was trying to reach the same audience as Bruce Willis did for Death Wish or what. Repulsive.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatagonia

Assuming Cooper doesn't win an Oscar this year, he will be left with 7 unsuccessful nominations - 4 for acting, 2 for producing and 1 for writing. His 'overdue' narrative is building...

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Cooper isn't entitled to anything for his directorial effort. He gave a great acting performance and his movie was pretty to look at thanks to his DP. Jonah Hill would have been a worthier nominee for Mid90s.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

TBH I don't think Cooper's direction was a great feat and I isn't worthy of more than the nomination it received.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

Is O'Hara wearing one of her Beetlejuice pieces.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I thought I was hallucinating when I woke up and saw Bo Burnham had won. I think he was able to create something truly extraordinary (even though, as someone who was once a teenage girl riddled with painful anxiety, it was difficult to watch).

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKiki

That Liam Neeson article is fucking wild. His publicist must be ready to quit right now. Can't wait to see how Viola Davis reacts to it.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterME

Why does Cuaron need to win again when Spike Lee is right there??

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHm

I have a hard time being mad at something someone felt however long ago and regrets. I also think he should regret saying it, especially today.

Crazy sounding tho. Would be more useful if he opened up to someone i real life, rather than a journalist in an interview. Hell, a black guy, maybe admit something 1v1.

I don't get this.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

It irks me that directors like Spike Jonze, the Coen Brothers* and Wes Anderson so obviously want to make a musical, but just won't do it. And then all the musicals get made by Rob Marshall and Tom Hooper. Save the genre already you cowards!

*ok Inside Llewyn Davis and O Brother Where Art Thou? are structurally musicals.

February 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

Ugh, that win for Barry is so lazy. And I like the show, but come on!

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

Cuaro is the most cinematic of the nominees.

February 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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