As we move ever closer to the Academy Awards, the director’s guild has just announced the five nominees who will contend for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2011. The DGA’s are a major prognosticator for the Best Director award at the Oscars, as only six times has the DGA winner not gone on to win Best Director. This year’s nominees include Martin Scorsese for Hugo, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, Michel Hazanavicious for The Artist, Alexander Payne for The Descendants, and David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Hit the jump for more, including my thoughts on the nominees.
Payne and Hazanavicious were widely expected here, as The Artist and The Descendants are two clear frontrunners heading into the Oscar race. However, Fincher’s inclusion comes as a welcomed surprise. Many had thought Dragon Tattoo would be relegated to the technical categories after a warm yet unenthusiastic reception to the film itself. With Producers Guild, Writers Guild, and Art Directors Guild nominations under its belt, it’s safe to say that Dragon Tattoo is still clearly in the race.
I’m also ecstatic for Scorsese’s recognition, as I was wowed by his work in the wondrous Hugo. Allen is also deservedly acknowledged here for the stellar Midnight in Paris. The big snub here is Steven Spielberg for War Horse. The film was a surefire contender in the awards race given the behind the scenes pedigree, period nature, and overall uplifting (and old fashioned) story. Its lack of recognition in the Writers Guild and Art Directors Guild awards was bad enough, but leaving Spielberg off the DGA shortlist brings its Oscar chances way, way down.
Also left off the DGA shortlist is The Help director Tate Taylor, but I still expect the film to be nominated for Best Picture when the Oscar nominations are announced. You’re hard-pressed to find anyone that vehemently dislikes the movie, and star Viola Davis is the frontrunner to win the Best Actress Oscar. The only snub that particularly irks me is Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life. The film is gorgeous and I feel Malick deserves some recognition for his labor of love.
LOS ANGELES, CA: On January 9, 2012, DGA President Taylor Hackford announced the five nominees for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2011.
“The directors nominated this year for the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Award have each demonstrated an inspired command of the medium. The fact that their prodigious talents have been recognized by their peers is the highest honor a director can achieve,” said Hackford. “I offer my most sincere congratulations to each of the nominees.”
The winner will be named at the 64th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 28, 2012, at the Grand Ballroom of Hollywood and Highland.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Michel Hazanavicious, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo