Today, The Directors Guild of America announced their nominees for their top honor, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. I mentioned in my predictions last night that there were at least 2-3 slots that were somewhat wide-open, with a number of possible names that could fill them. This would allow for a couple of potential surprises, and taking a look at today’s nominees, some surprises we did indeed get.
As fully expected, Richard Linklater (Boyhood) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman) easily made it into the lineup given that they have been the two most recurring names throughout award season. Along with them, we also find Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), whose triple play of nominations from the HFPA, the BFCA, and BAFTA made him a very strong possibility, so his inclusion hardly comes as a surprise.
Even though his name hasn’t been seen that much throughout awards season, seeing Morten Tyldum make the lineup for his outstanding direction of The Imitation Game was a pleasant surprise. It’s a fantastic film and a very well-deserved nomination.
The biggest shock of the lot, however, is finding Clint Eastwood’s name among the five for his direction of the sub-par war drama American Sniper, beating out several more deserving nominees such as Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler, Christopher Nolan for Interstellar and Damien Chazelle for Whiplash. It’s not that Eastwood’s direction was bad, it’s just that it wasn’t particularly impressive.
Perhaps they were just feeling sentimental and felt the need to include him after not giving him a nomination for a decade. Whatever the reason, I would be very, very shocked if his nomination carried over to the Oscars, especially with Ava DuVernay’s (Selma) almost-certain inclusion.
Richard Linklater has a seemingly insurmountable lead, but will it carry through to those who actually work in the industry? Could we see Inarritu pull an upset? We’ll just have to wait until the winners of the DGA’s annual awards are announced on February 7th to find out.