2010 DGA nominee Woody Allen directing Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson on the set of Midnight in Paris

So, the Directors Guild nominees have been announced.  I haven’t been posting anything about the current year in film because I get to the theater so rarely anymore that I’m way behind and I have to catch up once everything hits DVD.  And while last year, I kept a running log of all the awards (which will come out when I reach 2010 in the Year in Film – a while from now at the glacial pace I’ve been at lately), I haven’t done anything this year.

But, since I pride myself on having all this knowledge in my head (or on my spreadsheets), I thought I would throw out a few tidbits of trivia concerning this year’s nominations.

The Nominees:

  • With his nomination for Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen moves out of a large tie for 11th place in DGA points and into a tie for 7th place with David Lean, George Stevens, Robert Wise and Ron Howard.  Yes, until today, Ron Howard had more points from the DGA than Woody Allen did.
    • Who are those people still tied in what is now 12th place behind Ron Howard?  Clint Eastwood, Ang Lee, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Stone, Vincente Minnelli and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
    • By the way, though Woody Allen is in the top 10 for points at the DGA and the Oscars (where he is tied for 8th), his nominations don’t line up at all.  Since the DGA began its awards in 1948, he is one of five directors to earn three or more Oscar nominations when not having a DGA nomination (78 for Interiors, 84 for Broadway Danny Rose, 94 for Bullets over Broadway).  The other four are Fellini, John Huston, Norman Jewison and William Wyler (who did it four times).  But Woody also directed Manhattan, which earned a DGA nom in 1979, but not an Oscar nomination.
  • Michel Hazanavicius is the only first-time nominee (for The Artist).  The last time we only had one first-time nominee was in 2000, when it was Steven Soderbergh, who was nominated twice that year.  Before that, you have to go back to 1989.
  • Alexander Payne earns his second nomination (for The Descendents), seven years after his first.  But that’s not much of a wait.  Quentin Tarantino waited 15 years for his second, Roman Polanski 17 years, Taylor Hackford 22 years and Charles Crichton an incredible 36 years.
  • On the other hand, David Fincher, with The Girl with the Dragon Tattooearns his third nomination in four years.
    • This makes him the 18th director to earn back to back nominations, after Vincente Minnelli (50-51), Fred Zinnemann (52-53 and again in 59-60), Billy Wilder (53-54 and again in 59-60), Elia Kazan (54-55), John Ford (55-56), Mark Robson (57-58), Robert Wise (65-66), Mike Nichols and Richard Brooks (surprisingly, both in 66-67), George Roy Hill (72-73), Sidney Lumet (4 straight, 73-76), Steven Spielberg (81-82 and again in 97-98), Barry Levinson (90-91), James Ivory (92-93), Ridley Scott (00-01), Peter Jackson (three straight in 01-03) and Clint Eastwood (03-04).
    • If I told you only four other directors have earned 3 nominations in 4 years, you could easily get Lumet and Jackson, because theirs were consecutive.  You might get Billy Wilder (57, 59, 60).  But would you have guessed the other one was Barry Levinson (88, 90, 91)?
    • Though The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t that high on people’s radars for Best Picture, the guilds have gone for it strongly.  If it failed to earn a Best Picture nomination now it would only be the third film in the last decade to earn PGA, DGA and WGA nominations and not earn an Oscar nom for Best Picture.  The other two were The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and The Dark Knight, but both were before the expanded Best Picture lineup.
  • With Hugo marking his eight nomination, Martin Scorsese is in second place for all-time DGA nominations and tied with Fred Zinnemann for second in points (Zinnemann won twice while Marty has only one win).  As one of only four directors win all six major critics groups Best Director awards (and the only one of the four to not do it with just one sweeping film – the other three are Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and David Fincher (The Social Network), Marty has cemented his place atop the all-time awards list.  He is already the all-time leader for the Broadcast Film Critics and BAFTA, is tied for second at the Golden Globes and if he were to go on and win the Oscar, he would leap into a tie for third place on that list.
    • This marks Marty’s fourth DGA nomination in the last decade (and four of his last five films to earn nominations).  He will probably also earn an Oscar nomination.  In 2001, Marty had been a director for 33 years and had directed 18 feature films.  He had earned 4 DGA nominations, 3 Oscar nominations, 4 Golden Globe nominations and 4 BAFTA nominations and of all of those, only won one BAFTA.  Since then, in 10 years, he has directed 5 films and earned 4 DGA nominations, 3 Oscar nominations (with another one likely coming), 4 Golden Globe nominations and 3 BAFTA nominations (with another one likely coming) and won the DGA, Oscar and 2 Globes.

The Notable Omissions:

  • How odd is it that Terrence Malick didn’t get nominated at the DGA?  Since 1966, when the National Society of Film Critics began giving awards, only 17 times has a director won three critics awards in one year.  Of those 17, only twice before today did that director fail to earn a DGA nomination – David Lynch in 1986 for Blue Velvet, and, ironically, David Lynch again in 2001 for Mulholland Drive.  Today, Malick, who won the LA Film Critics, National Society of Film Critics and Chicago Film Critics Best Director awards for Tree of Life, made it three.
    • What are Malick’s Oscar chances?  Well, both times Lynch was nominated at the Oscars; in fact his nomination was the only one for both films.  Only one director has earned three critics awards and failed to earn an Oscar nomination – Ang Lee for Sense and Sensibility in 1995.  But he had earned a DGA nomination.  No one with three critics wins has ever failed to earn both a DGA and Oscar nominations.  Only 11 directors have even won two critics awards and failed to earn either nomination, though one of them was Malick in 1978 with Days of Heaven.
    • Tree of Life currently has 1046 awards points thanks to its BFCA nominations and overwhelming critics success.  It is already in second place behind True Grit for awards points with no Globe points (True Grit had 1163).  It is one point ahead of Going My Way for most points without guild nominations, but that was before the guild awards existed.  Day for Night is the record-holder with 920 points and Happy-Go-Lucky, with 779 is the most for an English language film.  Tree of Life might get out of that with a Cinematography nomination.  But it only made one BAFTA long-list.  Of films with over 1000 points, only three have earned more than 60% of their points from the critics: GoodFellas (60.73%), Mulholland Drive (69.81%) and Far From Heaven (71.20%).  Right now, Tree of Life is sitting at 90.85%, and unless it does really well at the Oscars, it is not changing much.  That is unheard of.  Of the 13 films that earned more points from the critics than Tree of Life (938), only Far From Heaven earned less than 1600 total points and it earned 1493.  With no BAFTA nominations forthcoming except maybe Cinematography and with the guilds basically over, baring a big day at the Oscars, Tree of Life will be lucky to make 1250.
  • Steven Spielberg didn’t earn a DGA nomination for War Horse.  Some Oscar observers still think that War Horse is a good bet for Best Picture, even if Spielberg is a longer shot for Best Director now.  But, the Academy has always been colder to Spielberg than the DGA.  I can’t ever remember a serious Oscar contender from Spielberg that didn’t earn a DGA nomination.  He is the all-time DGA champ with 10 nominations (and three wins).  He was the first to ever win the DGA while not earning an Oscar nomination (in 1985 with The Color Purple) and four times, he has been nominated the DGA without an Oscar nomination (Jaws, Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Amistad).  True, there are more Best Picture nominees than there used to be.  But I can’t help but think that this badly hurts War Horse‘s chances at the Oscars.