The DGA is indeed a cliffhanger, or at least it seems like it will be. I can’t even predict over at Gold Derby because I have no idea how it will turn out. The stats, without a doubt, back Sam Mendes for 1917 and not Bong Joon-ho for Parasite or Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But on the other hand, the buzz for Parasite feels red hot. Part of that is just being online, where love for Parasite is outsized. But it’s also a movie that’s being talked about in a way no other movie is.
In this rushed season, it’s also impossible to tell where the consensus is headed. So far, 1917 has won a majority vote with the preferential ballot at the PGA, but the plurality votes have gone to Parasite at ACE and at SAG. Remember, American Hustle also had that same combo heading the Oscars. So first, let’s look at films that did not win Best Director at the Globes or the PGA but did win ACE and SAG and then won DGA:
None. Nada. Never happened. So Parasite would become the first. Of course, that’s a weird stat.
For 1917, however, which is getting targeted by film critics for whatever reason (I’m going to write about that next) — the stats are better. It was not up for ACE (obviously) nor for SAG ensemble so it could not win there. But what we do know so far is that Parasite beat Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Jojo Rabbit at SAG, and it beat The Irishman and Joker at ACE. But it could not and did not beat 1917 at the Globes for Best Director or, more importantly, on the preferential ballot at the PGA.
Let’s look again at the past, going all the way back to the beginning of PGA:
1989: (PGA held after the Oscars, so N/A)
1990: Dances With Wolves –> DGA
1991: Silence of the Lambs –> DGA
The Crying Game, Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven (Globe Director) –> DGA
1993: Schindler’s List —> DGA
1994: Forrest Gump —> DGA
1995: Apollo 13 —> DGA
1996: The English Patient —> DGA
1997: Titanic —> DGA
1998: Saving Private Ryan —-> DGA
1999: American Beauty —> DGA
Gladiator, Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger (Globe Director) —> DGA
Moulin Rouge, Robert Altman, Gosford Park (Globe Director), Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind (Globe Film Drama) –> DGA
2002: Chicago —> DGA
2003: Return of the King —> DGA
The Aviator, Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (Globe Director) —> DGA
2005: Brokeback Mountain —> DGA
Little Miss Sunshine, Martin Scorsese, The Departed (Globe Director) —> DGA
2007: No Country for Old Men —> DGA
2008: Slumdog Millionaire —> DGA
2009: The Hurt Locker —> DGA
2010: The King’s Speech —-> DGA
2011: The Artist —> DGA
2012: Argo —-> DGA
12 Years a Slave/Gravity(TIE) —> DGA
2014: Birdman —-> DGA
The Big Short, Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant (Globe Director) —> DGA
2016: La La Land —-> DGA
2017: The Shape of Water —–> DGA
Green Book Alfonso Cuaron, Roma (Globe Director) —-> DGA
In the shared history of the PGA and DGA, no film has ever won the DGA without winning either Best Film or Best Director at the Globes or the PGA first. A Beautiful Mind won Best Film (Drama) at the Globe before DGA. In every other instance, a DGA winner won either PGA or Globes Director or both.
On the other hand, Parasite has already become the first Palme d’Or winner to win SAG ensemble, the first foreign language film to win at ACE, and the first foreign language film to win the SAG ensemble. So if it is a precedent setter, it could definitely be a stat buster.
However, stats-wise, we’re flying blind. Still, I have a hard time deciding myself who will win the DGA. What director will have reached 17,000 DGA voters? Which film will be most popular with them?
In order of stats, who has the best shot?
- Sam Mendes, Globe Drama + Globe Director + PGA
- Quentin Tarantino, Globe Comedy
For Tarantino, do we have precedent? Well, A Beautiful Mind is the precedent. In fact, Quentin Tarantino (like Ron Howard) is overdue. Once Upon a Time has one actor winning; A Beautiful Mind had two actors winning until Russell Crowe’s win was knocked out. Both won Globes for Best Film + Screenplay + Acting.
It seems counter-intuitive, I know, but stats back these two more than anyone else. Does that mean anything? Who knows.
As for the First Time Director DGA award, it is relatively new. Bo Burnham beat Bradley Cooper last year when Cooper was in both categories. There are three women up against three men:
Mati Diop, Atlantics
Alma Har’el, Honey Boy
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon
Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The most critically acclaimed is probably Mati Diop for Atlantics. Honey Boy has lots of buzz and is beloved by many. Queen & Slim is the box office champ of all of them with $43 million. The Peanut Butter Falcon has a kick-ass PR team behind them and they could win. And The Last Black Man is San Francisco seems like a long shot. But who knows. Will the three women split that vote and one of the men pull through? Maybe.
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