The Directors Pull A Surprise Rabbit

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) released their list of five nominated filmmakers today and this is a very strong indicator of the people who will be nominated for the Oscar on Monday. Well, 80% of them that is.

Here are your DGA nominees:

Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

The first four names on that list were widely expected as the pictures of Joon-Ho, Mendes, Scorsese, and Tarantino are the four entries that have the best shot at winning Best Picture. Any of their exclusions would have been a shocker.

So the real question was the fifth spot and Waititi’s inclusion is a pretty big surprise. The general consensus is that the slot would go to one of the following three directors: Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), or Todd Phillips (Joker). That said, no one in that trio should feel their Oscar hopes are dashed.

That’s because the DGA almost always matches the Academy’s director picks on a 4/5 scale. This was the case from 2013-2017. Last year, the number was 3. However, for reasons mentioned above, four seems to be the floor in 2019.

One could make the case that today’s nod for Waititi makes him an outsider pick for Oscar. 2009 was the last year the DGA and the Academy matched five for five. It also happened in 2005. Those are the only two years it occurred in the 21st century.

Waititi’s consolation is real as Jojo should get a Best Picture nod and he’s almost certain to pick up another nomination for his screenplay. Yet when it comes to Oscar’s final slot – I still believe Baumbach, Gerwig, or Phillips to be the strongest contenders.

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