Tomorrow, January 12th, the Directors Guild of America will announce their five nominees for outstanding directing in motion pictures. This is a tight field and there really may not be an outright frontrunner. There are three directors that I would say are pretty close to locks: Ridley Scott (The Martian), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant). Scott has got that gold watch thing going on and directed a successful blockbuster and finally delivered. He has been off for a while and The Martian was an entertaining, well-made popcorn flick. George Miller directed one of the best summer blockbusters in a long time and completely deserves all the critical adulation he has been receiving. No doubt in my mind, he brought his Mad Max franchise back to an exciting, substantial life. It was great to see real action and a story focusing on strong women, instead all the other crap coming out of Hollywood. And Iñárritu, the winner last year for Birdman, has delivered another stellar and brutally amazing piece of cinema. The man is a master and could easily win again. He just won the Globe last night.
So, I am going with those three as my locks. That leaves two spots open. I believe it will be between four contenders: Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Adam McKay (The Big Short), Todd Haynes (Carol), or Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies). McCarthy has all the love for Spotlight, a film that has been unanimously praised and one that is directed to perfection. He was nominated at the Globes, but not at the BAFTA’s. The film has a PGA, WGA, and SAG Ensemble nod, but not an ACE Eddie. McKay was not nominated at the Globes, but did receive a BAFTA nomination. The film also received a PGA, WGA, ACE Eddie and SAG Ensemble nod, so both Spotlight and The Big Short are admired by the industry which is good for each director.
Then you have Haynes and Spielberg. Haynes received a Globe and BAFTA nomination, and his film received 9 total BAFTA nominations. The film did not receive a PGA nomination (not good) and no ensemble from SAG or an ACE Eddie, but did receive a WGA nomination. Spielberg, the man, and Bridge of Spies is beloved, as is he, by the industry. Spielberg did not receive a Globe nomination, but did nab a BAFTA. The film did not receive a SAG or ACE Eddie nod, but was nominated by the PGA and WGA.
Looking at this it could be any two of these four. My heart, and gut, wants to go with McCarthy and Haynes. Those directors are so deserving, but the competition is tight, and you have, at once known as a silly comedic director McKay, doing fine work covering the financial crisis, and then Spielberg being historically relevant and American, and delivering a really solid film. It is tough to nail it down. I so badly want Haynes to get this DGA nod, but I feel that whomever gets those last two spots with the DGA might not get it at the Oscars. You also have outside possibilities such as: Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), John Crowley (Brooklyn), F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Lenny Abrahamson (Room). All long shots most likely.
Last year, it was: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Morten Tyldum and Clint Eastwood with the DGA; and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, Morten Tyldum and Bennett. Miller at the Oscars.
My Picks are:
- Ridley Scott (The Martian)
- George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
- Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
- Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
- Adam McKay (The Big Short)
I so badly want Haynes in there, but if not here, I believe he will receive an Academy nomination. We will find out tomorrow!!!