DGA discrepancies with AMPAS are not uncommon

Posted by · 9:39 am · January 9th, 2009

Frank Darabont on the set of The MistThe announcement of this year’s DGA nominees has left the sense that the races for Best Picture and Best Director are over.  Not so.  While the guild and Academy line up most of the time, and have a decent track record with the directing branch, we must not forget the years that proved otherwise.  This could be such a year.

Ask yourself how many times the Best Picture category has lined up perfectly with the nominees for Best Director?  Please also be aware that the DGA has awarded their prize sometimes to directors not even nominated for an Oscar: Ron Howard for “Apollo 13” and Steven Spielberg for “The Color Purple” to name a couple.  So while the race is certainly clearer, it is by means over.

I still believe Woody Allen stands a strong chance for being nominated for “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” just as I believe that Darren Aronofsky could sneak in for “The Wrestler.”  But who gets snubbed?

Gus Van Sant, Christopher Nolan, Ron Howard, David Fincher and Danny Boyle are worthy nominees all, most deserving of their attention and potential award.  But who of those esteemed five could the Academy allow to slip away?  It’s a tough call.

I hate to say it, but I think Fincher is the most likely snub.  A stunning film to be sure, and likely the major nominee recipient…just as “The Color Purple” was in 1985.  My gut tells me Fincher might get the shaft only because he’s been on that side of things before, and the others are just too hard to ignore.  That said, let’s not forget that Ron Howard has been a victim of this sort in the past, for his finest work in fact, “Apollo 13.”  And Nolan is in some dicey waters, though I doubt he could be the victim of the blockbuster mentality that haunted Spielberg for “Jaws” (and much of his career).

Overall the DGA has proven to be more progressive than the Academy, nominating women frequently enough: Lina Wertmuller for “Seven Beauties,” Randa Haines for “Children of a Lesser God,” Barbara Streisand for “The Prince of Tides,” Jane Campion for “The Piano” and Sofia Coppola for “Lost in Translation,” while the Academy failed to nominate either Haines or Streisand.  The guild also nominated Paul Newman for his superb direction of “Rachel, Rachel” in 1968, which won him the New York Film Critics Circle award, but Oscar didn’t come calling.

Francis Ford Coppola won the DGA award in 1972 for “The Godfather,” while Bob Fosse took hom the Oscar for “Cabaret.”  And then two years later Coppola was twice DGA-nominated, for “The Conversation” and “The Godfather Part II,” ultimately winning his second prize in three years for “The Godfather Part II.”

The most nominated director in the guild’s history is none other than Steven Spielberg, with 10 tips of the hat and three wins, also the most of any other filmmaker in their history.  Frank Darabont has twice felt the DGA love for “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” and while both films have been nominated for Best Picture, Darabont was twice snubbed by the Academy.

Another Oscar winning and guild awarded director, James L. Brooks must be wondering what he did to offend the Academy.  After winning both the DGA and the Academy Award for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment,” he has twice been nominated by the DGA for “Broadcast News” and “As Good As It Gets,” yet was snubbed for Oscar nods both times.

I admire the guild for embracing Spielberg in the manner they have.  While the Academy snubbed the artist for “Jaws,” “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun” and “Amistad,” the DGA recognized them for being formidable works

So, while they are close to matching the Academy’s ultimate picks, let’s all remember that the DGA has gone their own way plenty of times throughout the years.  I’d be shocked if the guild’s picks matched with Oscar’s director nominees 5/5 this year.

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7 responses so far

  • 1 1-09-2009 at 10:49 am

    Hans said...

    Worth noting:

    Only 3 times have the PGA nominees matched up perfectly with the DGA nominees:

    The Departed
    Dreamgirls (missed BD/BP)
    Little Miss Sunshine (missed BD)
    The Queen

    Amistad (missed BD/BP)
    As Good as it Gets (missed BD)
    Good Will Hunting
    L.A. Confidential

    Forrest Gump
    Four Weddings and a Funeral (missed BD)
    Pulp Fiction
    Quiz Show
    Shawshank Redemption (missed BD)

    So each time the PGA and the DGA have matched up, not one, but TWO directors end up missing out on a Best Director nod at the Oscars. And 2 out of the 3 times, at least one picture got snubbed by Oscar as well.

    This seems like the year to not follow suit since all the directors seem so locked in, but if the pattern holds up, which two would be in the most danger? And, the more important question, who would take their place?

    I would say Arenofsky and Stanton replace Howard and Fincher, with WALL-E kicking F/N out of the lineup. I know, really wishful thinking, but not by any means a stretch.

  • 2 1-09-2009 at 10:59 am

    Cameron said...

    I can’t escape this feeling that “frost/nixon” will wind up getting shafted, and “walle” will be the next animated best picture nominee, and darren aronofsky will be nominated in place of ron howard

    …but it could be wishful thinking…

  • 3 1-09-2009 at 11:00 am

    Aaron said...

    I would literally be shocked if David Fincher was snubbed this year. If any one of the directors receives a snub from the Academy this year, I’m confident it will be Ron Howard.

  • 4 1-09-2009 at 11:42 am

    Dennis said...

    Ron Howard is out. He’s been nominated by the DGA three times before this year, and only one of those turned into an Oscar nom. Even after he won the DGA for Apollo 13 he was snubbed for the Oscar nomination.

    I think Aronofsky will take his place. There seems to be a lot of last minute love for the film.

  • 5 1-09-2009 at 1:42 pm

    The Z said...

    I agree that Aronofsky will sneak in, but I’m leaning towards Van Sant or Boyle getting left out. “Milk” was was great, but not because of the directing. And personally, “Slumdog Millionaire” lacked any real emotional depth for me – I’m surprised it’s caught fire like it has. I think the big shock will either be “Gran Torino” popping up more than expected (much like “Letters from Iwo Jima”) or a 5 for 5 match with picture and director.

    That said:

    -Eastwood (for “Gran Torino,” even though I think “Changeling” was marvelous)

  • 6 1-09-2009 at 2:38 pm

    Patrick said...

    I say Howard is out, Leigh in.

  • 7 1-09-2009 at 7:59 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    I honestly think that Van Sant might be in a shakier position than Howard, although I know I’d like to see Howard shafted come nomination morning, just because of the five seem-to-be locks, Frost/Nixon is easily the weakest film (not bad, just uneven and unimpressive as a whole).