It wasn’t just the Screen Actors Guild revealing their list of nominees today as the Directors Guild of America (DGA) put out the five filmmakers vying for their top prize.
First things first. The three pictures that I believe have the best shot at taking BP at the Oscars all saw their conductors brought to this stage. That would be the Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans). This trio were all obvious ones to predict and that I did.
Yet I ultimately went 3 for 5. That’s because my picks of James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water) and Baz Luhrmann (Elvis), makers of two popular commercial moneymakers, were left on the cutting room floor. Instead we got the surprising selection of Joseph Kosinski, maker of the year’s biggest moneymaker domestically with Top Gun: Maverick. I’ve only had Kosinski in my top 10 possibilities for the Academy on a couple of occasions. He’s never been in my high five.
The directing category at the Oscars usually match DGA on a 4 for 5 accuracy scale. You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time they matched 5 for 5. In other words, I wouldn’t rush to put Kosinski in the quintet.
My other miss was Todd Field, conductor of Tár. His inclusion was more anticipated and I had him as my runner-up.
Assuming we don’t get a total match, what’s the state of the Academy competition? The Daniels and McDonagh and Spielberg (despite the BAFTA snub) are probably safe and Field seems right up the Academy’s alley.
The fifth slot, while it could be Kosinski, is still available for Cameron or Luhrmann. Charlotte Wells (Aftersun) is beginning to get some ink. And we could absolutely still see a foreign director slide in like Edward Berger for All Quiet on the Western Front. Longer shots in that vein are S.S. Rajamouli (RRR) and Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave).
Who got hurt by being left out today? Certainly Sarah Polley for Women Talking and Ruben Ostlund for Triangle of Sadness. Either one of them could have used this as a momentum boost. Same for Babylon‘s Damien Chazelle.
The DGA’s will be presented on February 18th and my winning projection will be made shortly beforehand.