Directors Guild Nominees Narrow The Oscar Field (AWARDS 2018)


The nominees for the 71st Annual Directors Guild of America awards certainly don’t come as a surprise. All five make sense, given the movies and artists we’ve seen highlighted throughout the awards season so far.

Nevertheless, since Director seems to be one of this year’s most competitive races there remain a slew of notable omissions. Not making the DGA cut:

Also notable: no women directors were cited, which includes strong work from Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Chloe Zhao (The Rider), Lynne Ramsey (You Were Never Really Here), Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), and Tamara Jenkins (Private Life) to name just a few.

The challenge with all of these female-driven indies, of course, is that they are much smaller films, which are always harder to gain traction with Directors Guild voters (regardles of gender) who favor scale and scope or, in the case of nominee Peter Farrelly‘s Green Book, familiarity.

From my vantage point, Coogler and Jenkins are the biggest snubs. Black Panther has the scale, scope, cultural impact, and blockbuster success that should’ve made Coolger a no-brainer slam dunk lock, and Jenkins’ Beale is a sublime follow-up to Moonlight.

Both are better, more daring, and more ambitious that Farrelly’s Green Book, while the nod to Adam McKay for Vice is downright disheartening. It’s an obnoxious agitprop screed, not a work of art like many of the movies and artists overlooked.

At least Spike Lee made it for BlacKkKlansman, so that’s something.

In the end, though, it probably comes down to the top two: Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born and Alfonso Cuarón for Roma.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cuaron get his second DGA award, following 2013’s Gravity (especially since the DGA can give Cooper their First Time prize, for which he’s also nominated) but then have Cooper upset at the Academy Awards. Oscar has a history of giving Directing statues to first-time director actors (Robert Redford and Kevin Costner, most famously) because the Academy’s Acting branch is so huge.

Maybe the biggest lesson we can learn about the Oscar race at this stage is that, despite that shocking Bohemian Rhapsody upset at the Golden Globes, all of the industry unions have unanimously nominated one film: A Star Is Born.

Along with the Directors nomination, Star is also up for the major prizes in the other guilds: Screen Actors, Producers, Writers, Cinematographers, Editors, Art Directors, Sound. No other film has landed that clean sweep.

Here are the nominations (in the three film categories) for the 71st Annual DGA Awards. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday February 2, 2019, a little less than one month before to the Oscars on Sunday February 24.

Directors Guild of America
2018 Nominees

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film

Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a First-Time Feature Film Director

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary

Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2018 / 19 season:

Writers Guild of America Nominees
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Producers Guild of America Nominees
Boston Society of Film Critics
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Screen Actors Guild Nominees
Critics Choice Awards Nominees
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
AFI Film Awards
Detroit Film Critics Society
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Circle
The National Board of Review

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