Tomorrow, the Directors Guild of America will announce their nominations for their 67th annual awards, so let’s take a look at whose names we’ll most likely be seeing in those five coveted slots for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
Last year, it wasn’t particularly hard to narrow down the five finalists. We had solid locks with Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). That final slot had a couple of potential names that could have filled it, but Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) seemed the most likely candidate, and indeed was chosen by the DGA. However, the Academy decided to replace him later on with Alexander Payne for the over-hyped and disappointing Nebraska.
This year is a completely different ballgame. As it stands, there are only two names that appear to be locks, two names that have earned their fair share of awards and appeared on just about every list of nominees throughout the season. Of course, those two names are Richard Linklater (Boyhood) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman). Linklater has enjoyed a dominating lead, having taken a vast majority of the Best Director prizes, including a major win at the Golden Globes just last night. At the moment, he easily remains the frontrunner for the DGA award and the subsequent Oscar, so his name is easily the first to solidify itself in the list of nominees.
At a fair distance, but garnering a massive amount of acclaim as well is Inarritu, who has won a fair share of director prizes and has consistently had his name put right alongside Linklater’s for his brilliant direction of the year’s best film, Birdman. Without a doubt, we will be hearing his name announced as one of the five finalists for the DGA’s top honor. Count on it.
For the next two candidates, we can only talk in terms of near-certainties, for neither of them are quite on the level of a lock, but do have a strong chance of being included in tomorrow’s lineup. The first most likely inclusion is Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). He may not have won a single Best Director award all season, but his name has certainly showed up enough times to present him as a very strong possibility. What really makes him a prime candidate is the fact that he has been nominated by the HFPA (Golden Globes), the BFCA (Critics Choice), and BAFTA, meaning that if we don’t hear his name announced tomorrow, it will be a little surprising.
Moving on to the fourth name, I believe that David Fincher has a very good chance of making the final cut as well. He’s gotten a fair amount of praise for his work on Gone Girl, earning multiple nominations for Best Director from many groups, including the HFPA and the BFCA. However, what also makes him appear to be a very likely pick is that the DGA seems to like him quite a lot. He has been nominated three times for feature films for his work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and even his decent adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was a pretty big surprise as not many others nominated it. If he can get nominated for a film that didn’t have that much awards steam, then it should be a whole lot easier to get nominated for one that does, right? Coupled with the nominations he’s already gotten, it seems like a pretty good call.