Regarding that headline, here’s the old Oscar maxim.
“Best Directors direct Best Pictures.”
If your director doesn’t get nominated, your picture, even if nominated, doesn’t stand a chance at winning Best Picture.
So “La La Land,” “Arrival,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight” and “Lion” have the edge, at least according to this year’s Director’s Guild nominations.
I am outraged on behalf of Jeff Nichols of “Loving,” “Midnight Special” etc., one of the best, most versatile directors working today. But it’s hard to argue with that field.
There can be as many as ten Oscar nominations for Best Picture, but the DGA also manages to get ten (nine this year) Best Directors.
Garth Davis of “Lion” copped both Best Director and Best First Time Director nominations. He’s up against Tim Miller of “Deadpool,” Nate Parker of “Birth of a Nation” and Kelly Fremon Craig of “The Edge of Seventeen” and Daniel Trachtenberg for “10 Cloverfield Lane.” I’d say Davis has the inside track on that one, with Parker, Trachtenberg and Craig helming films of lower ambition.
“Moonlight” has some buzz, but has felt like an Indie Spirit Award winner, from the get-go. “La La Land” and “Manchester” may have peaked early, in terms of awards heat.
“Arrival” gets a nomination and we remember, “Oh yeah. It’s a contender, and Amy Adams has an outside chance of finally taking a Best Actress statuette (Damn you, Natalie Portman!”).
The TV nominations are, like the Golden Globes, more attuned to the trendy hits (“Stranger Things,””Game of Thrones”) than the true “best directors.”
The DGA hands out its honors Feb. 4.