Today, the Directors Guild of America has announced the rest of their feature film nominations (Documentary nominees were announced yesterday), with mostly the expected results, but also with one very unexpected surprise.
As predicted, Damien Chazelle ("La La Land"), Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight"), Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester by the Sea"), and Denis Veilleneuve ("Arrival") have all made the cut. However, the DGA has gone with a completely left field choice for the fifth slot, naming Garth Davis ("Lion") as their fifth nominee (as well as a nominee for the First-Time Director category). That fifth slot was expected to be taken by a number of possible directors, including Mel Gibson ("Hacksaw Ridge"), David Mackenzie ("Hell or High Water"), or even Martin Scorsese ("Silence"), but there were very few, if any, who predicted Davis to be in the group.
It's extremely sad to see Scorsese's brilliant direction be passed over in favor of a couple of these choices, but it has apparently turned into the popular thing for the major guilds to ignore "Silence," which is easily his best film of the last decade (he received DGA nods for "The Departed," "Hugo," and "The Wolf of Wall Street" in that time). Looks like it's going to be up to the Academy to make up for the guilds' terrible mistakes, at least in regards to giving it the nominations it should have received throughout the season.
At this point, the main category appears to be Chazelle's to lose. He's been a nearly unstoppable force throughout the critics' awards, winning big with groups like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. However, it's simply no surprise. "La La Land" is a gorgeously-directed film that deserves to bring him every accolade under the sun, with this being the most important victory for him on his way to winning the directing Oscar (the winner here has around a 90% chance of winning the Oscar due to how often the two match up).
As for the other two categories, I would guess that, with him being popular enough to nominate in the main category AND the First-Time category, Garth Davis looks to have the best chance of winning the latter. Meanwhile, in Documentary, I'd be quite surprised if Ezra Edelman doesn't take home the prize for his stunning portrait of O.J. Simpson.
We'll just have to wait until the winners are revealed on February 4th to find out. Be sure to check back then, but in the meantime, please see below for a complete list of the Feature Film nominees:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Garth Davis, Lion
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Feature Film
Garth Davis, Lion
Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen
Tim Miller, Deadpool
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation
Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary