The Directors’ Guild was, in years past, the best predictor for the Best Picture nominees. Now that Oscar has expanded to 10 nominees for that category, of course, the DGA just solidifies the top contenders. The winner at the DGA also has the inside track for the Director win at the Oscars. The Academy, though, is of course occasionally fickle about splitting the Director and Picture categories, which I could absolutely see happening this year. The upshot is, these nominees tell us just about nothing about the race in general, except to perhaps confirm that Danny Boyle and “127 Hours” are dipping in the race. The nominees are:
- Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
- David Fincher, “The Social Network”
- Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
- Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
- David O. Russell, “The Fighter”
Now, the big question is whether Best Director at the Oscars will line up 5/5 with the DGA here, or whether someone will get bumped, and if so, who. Russell is generally considered the weak link since he has a very prickly reputation within the industry, but the fact that he got nominated here speaks volumes: his peers are clearly willing to overlook past incidents to recognize the quality of his work. But, the Coens are knocking loudly on the door, with “True Grit” capturing the top slot at the box office this past weekend and zipping past $100 million total gross, a landmark the prolific brothers have never accomplished before. It should make around $150 million before all is said and done, making it one of the biggest box office success stories of the year.
Plus, a couple factors with the DGA voting didn’t help out the Coens: the guild both sent out and turned in their ballots earlier than most groups, and for some reason don’t allow their members to be sent screeners; so, the upshot is that a lot of members probably didn’t even see “True Grit” before turning in their ballots.
Anyway, great to see the industry embracing the work of edgier outsiders like Aronofsky, Nolan and Russell (even if Nolan has strayed more toward the mainstream of late).