You have to be a serious Oscar wonk to care about this. In fact, I don’t think a single other person does except me. Does anyone remember in 2012 how the Oscar voters did not have the DGA’s influence when they cast their ballots, which was how Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, both DGA nominees, missed. Sure they might have missed otherwise – but doubtful. For decades, the DGA announced their nominees, then Oscar voters in the directing branch cast their ballots.
But this year – Lo! At last, for the first time since 2012, that’s six years later, the DGA will announce their awards on January 8th, and the Oscar voters must turn in their ballots on January 14. That’s six days, more than enough time to vibe what the DGA has decided are the five best of the year.
Of course, I can’t pretend it has had much effect on the directing race except for 2012, when only Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln matched. In the years since, there hasn’t been much of a disconnect to warrant freaking out about – just one name missing in a given year, which is how it always went before that anyway.
I just sort of like to keep things lined up neatly in a row as they’ve always been. And this felt unpredictable to me, and that made it sloppy.
But not to fear. It’s all copacetic this year because there will be lots of time.
Let’s look at the timeline for the majors, shall we?
SAG Awards Voting Begins (Nov 15)
Golden Globes Voting Opens (Nov 21)
DGA Online Voting Begins (Nov 26)
National Board of Review (Nov 27)
Golden Globes – Ballots Due (Dec 2)
Golden Globes – Nominations Announced (Dec 6)
SAG Awards – Voting Ends (Dec 9)
SAG Awards Nominations Announced (Dec 12)
PGA Awards Voting Begins ( Dec 13)
Golden Globes Final Ballots Mailed (Dec 17)
SAG – Final Voting Begins (Dec 8)
Golden Globes Final Ballots Due (Jan 2)
PGA Awards Voting Ends (Jan 3)
PGA Awards Nominations Announced (Jan 4)
PGA Awards Final Voting Begins (Jan 4)
Golden Globes Awards Ceremony (Jan 6)
DGA Voting Deadline (Jan 7)
Oscars – Voting Begins (Jan 7)
DGA – Nominees Announced (Jan 8)
DGA – Online Voting Begins (Jan 8)
Oscars – Voting Closes (Jan 14)
PGA Awards – Final Voting Closes (Jan 18)
PGA Awards – (Jan 19)
Phase 2 – After Nominations
Oscars – Nominations Announced (Jan 22)
SAG Awards Final Ballots Due
SAG Awards (Jan 27)
DGA – Final Ballot Deadline (Feb 1)
DGA Awards (Feb 2)
Cinema Audio Society Final Voting Ends (Feb 6)
Oscars – Final Voting Begins (Feb 12)
Oscars Final Voting Closes (Feb 19)
Oscars Ceremony (Feb 24)
Once again, the Golden Globes will have their ceremony BEFORE Oscar ballots are due, which makes them in the prime spot to influence how the awards go – if, for no other reason, that they operate as a kind of dress rehearsal. How good does it feel to, say, watch Guillermo del Toro win? Turns out, kind of good.
The SAG Awards and the DGA Awards all come after the Oscar nominations and can’t impact those. They can, however, impact final Oscar voting. Mais, bien sur.
Generally, Oscar peeps look at the DGA and the Academy’s Director branch a wee bit differently. Here is how they’ve gone in the past ten years:
|Guillermo del Toro, Shape of Water|| Guillermo del Toro, Shape of
|Jordan Peele, Get Out||Jordan Peele, Get Out|
|Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk||Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk|
|Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird||Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird|
|Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards||Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread|
Bad sign for Martin McDonagh to miss there – that made a Three Billboards win a longer shot, with or without ensuing shitstorm.
|Damien Chazelle, La La Land||Damien Chazelle, La La Land|
|Kenneth Lonergan, Manchster by the Sea||Kenneth Lonergan, Manchster by the Sea|
|Barry Jenkins, Moonlight||Barry Jenkins, Moonlight+|
|Denis Villeneuve, Arrival||Denis Villeneuve, Arrival|
|Garth Davis, Lion||Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge|
Mel Gibson, clearly more popular within the directing branch — roughly 400 members, than the DGA — which has roughly 15,000 members.
|The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu||The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu|
|The Big Short, Adam McKay||The Big Short, Adam McKay|
|Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller||Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller|
|The Martian, Ridley Scott||Lenny Abrahamson, Room|
|Spotlight, Tom McCarthy||Spotlight, Tom McCarthy+|
And fans of The Martian were saddened when he missed with the Academy, who preferred Room to The Martian. I can’t explain it. Don’t ask me to.
|Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman+|
|Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel||Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel|
|Morten Tyldum, Imitation Game||Morten Tyldum, Imitation Game|
|Clint Eastwood, American Sniper||Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher|
Here we have that other weird thing where Foxcatcher is the ONLY MOVIE since the advent of the preferential ballot to get a Best Directing nomination and not a Best Picture nomination. Weird, right? Right. Rare for a film now to win Director+Picture but it does sometimes still happen. Those Three Amigos are coming for ALL of the Oscars.
|Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave+||Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave+|
|Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips*||Alexander Payne, Nebraska|
|David O. Russell, American Hustle*||David O. Russell, American Hustle|
|Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street*||Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street|
This turned out to be one of the hardest years to predict – a bit like the Spotlight year – because both 12 Years AND Gravity won the Producers Guild. Smart money was on the split, though. Gravity doesn’t have enough actors in it. Actors rule the Academy.
|Steven Spielberg, Lincoln|
|Ang Lee, Life of Pi*||Ang Lee, Life of
|David O. Russell, Silver Linings*|
|Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty*||Michael Haneke Amour*|
|Tom Hooper, Les Miserables*||Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild*|
That wacky year no one could figure out – here it is, in all of its glory. You’ll notice no Argo on the right. Quite rare indeed, lest we ever forget. But otherwise, all of these movies were nominated for Best Picture.
Hazanavicius, The Artist
Hazanavicius, The Artist+
|Martin Scorsese, Hugo||Martin Scorsese, Hugo|
|Alexander Payne, The Descendants||Alexander Payne, The Descendants|
|Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris||Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris|
|David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Terrence Malick, Tree of Life|
This year sucked balls for me personally, as everyone knows. Kind of old school Oscar here. Can you imagine what Twitter would do if Woody Allen ever got nominated again though?
Hooper The King’s Speech
Hooper the King’s Speech+
|David Fincher, Social Network||David Fincher, Social Network*|
|Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan||Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan*|
|David O’Russell, The Fighter||David O’Russell, The Fighter*|
|Christopher Nolan, Inception*||The Coens, True Grit*|
The Social Network should have won. And that is all.
Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
|Lee Daniels, Precious||Lee Daniels, Precious*|
|Jason Reitman, Up in the Air||Jason Reitman, Up in the Air*|
|Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds||Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds*|
|Jim Cameron, Avatar||Jim Cameron, Avatar*|
The rare matching 5/5 year.
|Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon||Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon*|
|Gus Van Sant, Milk||Gus Van Sant, Milk*|
|David Fincher, Benjamin Button||David Fincher, Benjamin Button*|
|Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight||Stephen Daldry, The Reader*|
Pre-expanded ballot, they still found a way to fuck over Christopher Nolan.
So, for this year – I would be very surprised if these names were not on both the DGA and the Oscar list for Best Director:
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Damien Chazelle, First Man
Probably your next tier for DGA, maybe both, would be:
Peter Farrelly, Green Book
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
And then there are the wild cards, like Adam McKay’s Vice. Academy voters tend a little more towards esoteric. DGA might go for Ryan Coogler for Black Panther – and if given a week to bake, the Academy might go for him too — but here is where we have to address the Spike Lee vs. Ryan Coogler situation. BlackKklansman vs. Black Panther. Both are going to need a push. If both get in, who of the four mentioned above get bumped? Farrelly, you might say? Well, then, Green Book can’t win Best Picture. Let’s not forget Yorgos Lanthimos or the possibility of Steve McQueen with Widows.
You see how fast shit gets real? It gets REAL real fast.
Me, I’m thinking Spike Lee gets it because he’s been at this what, 30 years, and never a DGA nomination OR an Oscar nod for Directing. Ryan Coogler has lots of time ahead of him. If it’s me, I vote for Spike. But it isn’t me – and all of the Oscar bloggers I know are all over Black Panther, which they will push hard. I’d like to see Spike get a Best Directing nomination because he deserves it, goddamned it. But if he doesn’t, if they go for four white guys and Cuaron – it’s either going to be Adam McKay taking that fifth slot, or maybe — a wild card choice here would be Marielle Heller for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
That’s all I know, Oscar watchers. Stay tuned and watch this space.