Oscar Talk 2012: The DGA Awards are important (in case you didn’t know)

January 29, 2013


We all want to be able to correctly predict what film is going to win Best Picture. It’s something you can wildly debate about with your friends for countless hours, and then have the bragging rights if you select the winner. There are even Vegas odds and bets placed on the prestigious night. But while I’ve been in the game of Oscar watching for almost a decade now, there is still only one thing that I know: your guess is as good as mine.

I guess it’s kind of funny for me to admit that, but year after year that is what I keep saying. I’ll give my predictions and my reasons for believing in certain movies and certain upsets, but the truth is that your guess is as good as mine and as good as anyone else’s. If I somehow correctly predict 23 out of the 24 awards given out, I’ll be the first one to tell you that it was luck. Why do I keep doing it? Because it’s so much freakin’ fun.

So back to the game, this past weekend revealed that Argo seems to be back as the front-runner for Best Picture. Winning the PGA and the SAG awards is a pretty big deal. Am I ready to call it for Argo yet? No. It still has the HUGE obstacle of winning without a Best Director nod for Affleck, but if it wins this Saturday at the DGA awards and then gets the WGA, well it’ll practically be a lock then for Argo.

But just because it won the PGA and SAG doesn’t mean it’s a lock quite yet. In 1995, there was a crowd-pleasing film about an American event that went down this same path. Apollo 13 won the PGA, SAG, and even the DGA for Ron Howard (and also Howard didn’t get a Best Director nomination). It was expected for Apollo 13 to take the Oscars, but Braveheart swooped in with the upsets winning Best Picture (and Best Director for Mel Gibson, even though Howard wasn’t nominated).

Needless to say, this is a very strange road to the Oscars that we’ve been on thus far. You know what would really throw a wrench in the whole thing? If Ben Affleck or Steven Spielberg DOESN’T win the DGA. Imagine that? Because whoever wins the DGA out of those two will easily become the front-runner going into the Oscars. But let’s say… Ang Lee wins the DGA (which he’s won twice already). That would really throw a curve-ball at everyone, but at the same time it would hurt Spielberg and Lincoln more than anything else.

ben-affleck-argo      spielberg-lincoln

Okay… so where do we stand? Silver Linings Playbook has NO chance at Best Picture since it lost the SAG where it was expected to win. And unless Ang Lee can win the DGA, you can count Life of Pi completely out as well. As for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, well they’re just happy to be there. So it’s Lincoln vs. Argo down the stretch of the last month before the Oscars air.

Here’s a little bit of history, something like what we’ll be referring back to in the future if Argo wins Best Picture. Driving Miss Daisy is the only film to win Best Picture without a directing nod in 80 years and many people are comparing it to Argo. Born on the Fourth of July was a film that looked like was on its way to a Best Picture win. Here are the accolades for both films leading up to the Oscars:

Driving Miss Daisy
– won PGA
– won Golden Globes Comedy/Musical
– won WGA

Born on the Fourth of July
– won DGA
– won Best Director
– won Golden Globes Director and Drama

Though tradition was on Born of the Fourth of July’s side, Driving Miss Daisy made history with its Best Picture victory. Only once in the last 10 years has the Best Picture winner not matched the Best Director (Crash beating out Brokeback Mountain). So like I said earlier, there is a very good chance that history will be made… that is unless Spielberg wins the DGA and Lincoln sweeps at the Oscars. If that’s the case, we can all just have a good laugh.


DGA Nominees This Tuesday

January 7, 2013

So what do we know? There are certainly some definites to be nominated on Tuesday and those include:

Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Ben Affleck (Argo)

These are locks and they are also locks for a Best Director nomination when the Oscars announce their nominations this Thursday. But what about the last two spots? This was one heck of a year and there are quite a few directors trying to sneak in.

Ang Lee (Life of Pi) is probably your best bet at receiving one of the last two nominations. He’s very popular in the DGA and has already won two awards from the guild and one Oscar for Best Director.

Who’s fighting for the last spot? First there is Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) who is still very fresh from his award-winning, The King’s Speech. Taking on the very challenging and beloved musical could definitely pay-off with a DGA and an Oscar nod, but it’s not quite set in stone like you would’ve believed earlier this year. Despite the risky decision to have his actors sing live during shooting, Les Miserables had a few missteps. But it’s still a great epic that wouldn’t surprise anyone if he snuck in.

Then there’s Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), the beloved and quirky director who continues to have fun with the amount of violence he could pour into a film. His last film, Inglorious Basterds, was his most mainstream film in his career and was all over the map during the Oscars. It’s hard for me to see Django Unchained being unanimously liked in the Academy, but Tarantino is definitely a veteran who hasn’t received his due yet, so that’s always something to factor in (if you don’t think that matters, just look at Kate Winslet’s win for The Reader).

Then there is David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), who has one of the most crowd-pleasing films this year. There is always a dramedy that the Academy loves and Silver Linings Playbook is it. He was nominated a few years ago for The Fighter so he’s no stranger to the awards circuit, but even so he’s relatively new and the Academy might go for a veteran instead.

Then there is Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom), an outside shot at receiving any nominations for directing but still worth mentioning. As a veteran and beloved director, Anderson delivers a lovable and mainstream(ish) film that has a some awards buzz surrounding it. Will the DGA push him to finally receive some recognition?

Then there is Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), who in the middle of the year I could’ve sworn was a shoe-in for Best Director. But The Master is very polarizing among critics and the public. Exactly what was the film about? You can’t deny that it’s a wonderful work of art with great acting performances, but does PTA deserve a directing nomination?

My DGA predictions:

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables

I know that the Weinstein Company are major players during awards season, but Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained are from the Weinsteins. I’m just not sure which movie they’re going to support more at this point. I also believe that Les Miserables will be a major player in the Oscars, so it’s hard to imagine Tom Hooper not being involved in the mix.

DGA Awards Announced

January 8, 2008

The DGA announced their five nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2007

(In alphabetical order):

Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood
Ethan and Joel Coen – No Country for Old Men
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
Sean Penn – Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

There you have it.  The DGA has spoken, and what a list of amazing directors who have all made incredible films this year.  I do have to admit, I’m surprised by Tony Gilroy’s nomination as I was beginning to write off Michael Clayton as a serious competitor in the Oscar race… but now they’re right in the mix of things. 

The snubs of Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd) and Joe Wright (Atonement) hurts them tremendously.  Though a part of me still feels, come Oscar time for Best Director, these five will not be the five the AMPAS choose.  It seems as though PT Anderson, the Coen brothers, and Julian Schnabel are locks for a nomination… Sean Penn has a really good chance, but I’m still not sold on Tony Gilroy.  I still think Joe Wright, or maybe even Sidney Lumet, can sneak in… but the results here for the DGA awards basically leaves Tim Burton on thin ice.

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