Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Lee Land DGA Nominations

     January 8, 2019

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The Directors Guild of America has announced its nominees for accomplishments in film directing for 2018. The DGA is one of the most important Oscar precursors as it gives an idea of how one of the industries major guilds is feeling about the movies at hand. The Oscar race suffered quite the shakeup after those nutty Golden Globes, but the DGA nominations bring things pretty much back in line with what we’ve been predicting. This year’s DGA nominees are:

Bradley CooperA Star Is Born

Alfonso CuarónRoma

Peter FarrellyGreen Book

Spike Lee BlacKkKlansman

Adam McKayVice

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Image via Focus Features

That Farrelly and Lee are nominated the same year for two films that tackle race relations in very different ways pretty much says all you need to know about the diverse range of opinions this year. The notable absence here is Ryan Coogler, who is considered a contender to land a nomination for Black Panther. Also absent is Barry Jenkins who some have pegged to land a nomination for If Beale Street Could Talk, but the filmmaker’s Moonlight follow-up has failed to really catch on much with any of the guilds so far.

These five could very well end up being the five filmmakers nominated at the Oscars, with possibly one or two exceptions. Usually DGA matches up pretty closely with the Oscars’ picks, and indeed last year there was only one difference: Paul Thomas Anderson scored an Oscar nod for Phantom Thread over Martin McDonagh, who received a DGA nod for Three Billboards. All but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 went on to win the Best Director Oscar.

The most vulnerable here, I’d say, is probably McKay, whose Vice has drawn divisive reactions from critics and audiences. That said, the film is catching on pretty well with the guilds, so who knows. Yorgos Lanthimos is still very much in the mix for The Favourite, and indeed when there is a discrepancy, the Academy’s directors brand usually springs for a left-field or “artsy” contender like Anderson or Lenny Abrahamson for Room. Also overlooked: Damien Chazelle for First Man and Marielle Heller for Can You Ever Forgive Me?

But aside from Farrelly, it’s kind of hard to argue with this DGA list. Cuarón remains the pretty heavy favorite to win owing to his stunning achievement on Roma. We do know one thing: there’s no way the Academy is looking to honor Bohemian Rhapsody here, given that the entire team involved with that film is just flat-out ignoring the fact that Bryan Singer half-directed the movie before being fired.

And here are the exciting nominees for Best First-Time Feature Director:

Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade

Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born

Carlos López Estrada – Blindspotting

Matthew Heineman – A Private War

Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You

The DGA winners will be announced on February 2nd. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22nd. Click here to see the DGA’s TV nominees.

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