Last night, the Directors Guild of America bestowed their Best Director honor and it went to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for his work in The Revenant. It follows his win at the Golden Globes. This is the second year in a row that the DGA has honored Mr. Inarritu after his victory for Birdman in 2014.
So what does this mean for the Oscars taking place three weeks from today? Well, it certainly gives Inarritu a leg up over over his competitors George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Adam McKay (The Big Short), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), and Lenny Abrahamson (Room). The DGA winner and Oscar winner have matched 21 out of 25 times since 1990. That’s 84%, folks. It is probably reasonable to say that he is the front runner to win come Oscar night. If so, he will be the first auteur to win back to back golden statues in 65 years, since Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1949 and 1950.
As for whether that translates to a Best Picture win for The Revenant, that question is murkier. While the Picture recipient matches up more often than not with the Director victor, that hasn’t been the case for two of the last three years. While Inarritu’s Birdman did win the big prize a year ago, Ang Lee took Director in 2012 for Life of Pi while Argo won Picture. In 2013, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity work made him a winner while 12 Years a Slave took Picture. As I see it, 2015’s Picture race is still a close call between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short.
Bottom line: the DGA provided a boost for The Revenant’s maker to be honored in three weeks for the second time in as many years.