DGA Nominees Include Denis Villeneuve, Barry Jenkins, and Damien Chazelle

     January 12, 2017

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The Hollywood guilds are weighing in as Oscar nominations loom ever closer. The other day, the Producers Guild of America gave Deadpool an awards boost by including it on their Best Picture nominations list, and today it’s the Directors Guild of America’s turn to weigh in. The nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film are as follows:

Damien ChazelleLa La Land

Garth DavisLion

Barry JenkinsMoonlight

Kenneth LonerganManchester by the Sea

Denis VilleneuveArrival

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Image via CBS Films

And the nominees for First-Time Feature Film are:

Garth DavisLion

Kelly Fremon CraigThe Edge of Seventeen

Tim MillerDeadpool

Nate ParkerThe Birth of a Nation

Dan Trachtenberg10 Cloverfield Lane

With regards to the main category, this is about what folks expected, although Davis getting in over Martin Scorsese for Silence or Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge is a tad surprising. It’s hard to argue with the achievements here, and it sure is nice to see Villeneuve recognized after being left off the shortlist last year for his stunning work on Sicario. As for the First-Time Feature nominees, this is a relatively new category but a wholly welcome one. Craig did a tremendous job of bringing a refreshing POV to the teen coming-of-age genre, while Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane is a stellar debut.

But you may be asking, what does this mean for the Oscars? The winner of the DGA Award has gone on to win the corresponding Best Director Oscar 14 of the last 15 times, so when it comes to the winner, it’s a very strong indicator of who might win the Oscar. But as far as the nominees go, it’s not always a 1:1 match up. Last year, Ridley Scott landed a DGA nod for The Martian, but lost out on the Oscar nomination to Lenny Abrahamson for Room. The year before, Clint Eastwood scored the DGA nom for American Sniper but was left off the Oscar ballot in favor of Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher. In fact, for the past three years n a row there’s only been one DGA nominee who didn’t go on to get an Oscar nomination, but of course four years ago we had a big shakeup where DGA nominees Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were snubbed for the corresponding Oscar nominations.

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Image via The Weinstein Company

So if you’re looking at this list and thinking which of these makes the Best Director Oscar cut, statistically it could be four of the five, although it’s tricky to suss out which doesn’t get in and who gets in instead. Could the Director’s branch of the Academy have enough support to get Scorsese in? Who drops out? Davis would’ve been a solid pick for an Oscar nominee that wasn’t a DGA nominee, but he scored the DGA nod instead. Is Villeneuve in danger of being left out, or will it shockingly be one of the year’s three biggest frontrunners, La La Land, Moonlight, or Manchester by the Sea? Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a total match up with Oscar when those nominations are announced on January 24th.

For now, kudos to the DGA for this diverse lineup in both categories. The awards will be handed out on February 4th. For more on the Oscar race, click here to catch up on my Oscar Beat columns and peruse my predictions below.

Best Picture

Best Director

Best Actor

Best Actress

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