Monday, January 9, 2012

The Director's Guild Narrows Things Down a Little Bit

Today the Director's Guild of America (DGA) announced their five nominees, and their was one shock, David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was nominated in every one of the major guild awards, the PGA, WGA, and the DGA.  What does this mean?  Tattoo is on solid ground and will most likely be one of the 5-9 Best Picture nominee.  Fincher is a well respected director, but I did not see this nomination coming.  I thought we would see Tate Taylor for The Help, Steven Spielberg for War Horse or Bennett Miller for Moneyball before Fincher made this list.
Now as an Oscar forecaster I can safely predict The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a much better shot at (if not locked down) at being a Best Picture nominee.  I also think think this means we will see Rooney Mara's name announced as a nominee for Best Actress. The biggest problem with predicting the Best Picture category is that no one knows the number of nominees in the Best Picture category so predicted the actual nominees is going to be more difficult.  The Help will  still score a Best Picture nomination, but will probably not get a director nomination (as previously thought).  I think Moneyball is in the same category as The Help, a Best Picture nomination without a Director nomination.  I think War Horse could be a causality here, while Spielberg garnered a DGA nomination for Munich, but not for this and with this  films diminishing box office, and the fact that no one is pushing it as their favorite film proves to be a huge barrier for this film.
I am saddened that brilliant directors like Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life, and Nicolas Winding Refn-Drive are being ignored.  These two men created two brilliant films, and their direction is the best of the year.  The Director's branch of the Academy does not always agree with these five nominees.  Last year Christopher Nolan-Inception was nominated for the DGA but the Coen Brothers earned a nomination in his place at the Oscars for True Grit (huge mistake). 2009 the nominees matched up exactly.  In 2008 Christopher Nolan received a DGA nomination for The Dark Knight, and Stephen Daldry received his spot as an Oscar nominee for The Reader (another big mistake).  In 2007 the DGA picked Sean Penn for Into the Wild as a nominee while the Academy replace him with Jason Reitman for Juno.  I would have picked Penn, but Juno was a well liked film.  In 2006 the DGA and the Academy disagreed on two nominations.  The DGA nominated Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Ferris for Little Miss Sunshine and Bill Condon for Dreamgirls.  The Academy Awards nominated Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima and Paul Greengrass for United 93. Over the last few years the DGA and Academy have only completely agreed one year, and from 2000-2010 the DGA and Academy have only lined up three times (2002, 2005, and 2009).
So who will stay and who will be replaced (if anyone)?  I think Fincher is the most vulnerable, but at this moment it is hard to predict that any of these five men listed below will not get a nomination.  The next question is who would be the replacement nominee, will the Academy play it safe with Miller, Spielberg, or Taylor or will they take a risk and go with Malick or Refn.  When replacing someone in a group like this this the Academy will typically go with Malick or Refn.  The Academy has typically only messed up when replacing Christopher Nolan (they sure hate him for some reason.  At the moment I think Malick will replace Fincher, but that is not a set in stone prediction.
Here are the nominees:
Midnight in Paris
(Sony Pictures Classics)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
(Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
The Artist
(The Weinstein Company)
The Descendants
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)
(Paramount Pictures)

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