Steven Spielberg working with Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Lincoln (2012)

Steven Spielberg working with Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Lincoln (2012)

So, here we are with the Directors Guild nominations for 2012.

Here are the nominees for this year:

  • Steven Spielberg  (Lincoln)  –  11th nomination
  • Ang Lee  (Life of Pi)  –  4th nomination
  • Kathryn Bigelow  (Zero Dark Thirty)  –  2nd nomination
  • Tom Hooper  (Les Miserables)  –  2nd nomination
  • Ben Affleck  (Argo)  –  1st nomination

And I’m doing much better than last year in that I have already seen four of the nominees (I still need to see ZDT).

Here’s the trivia for this year:

  • Steven Spielberg has 630 points from the DGA (3 wins and 8 other nominations).  How far and away does that make him their most honored director ever?  The next highest total is 405.  In other words, only 18 other directors have earned as many points from the DGA that Spielberg has a margin of victory of over the next person.  Even though the other nominees have a combined 4 wins Spielberg still has more points than all of them combined.
  • Spielberg joins Scorsese as the only directors to be nominated by the DGA in five different decades.
  • Top points from the DGA (all-time)
  1. Steven Spielberg  –  630
  2. Fred Zinnemann  /  Martin Scorsese  –  405
  3. Billy Wilder  /  Sidney Lumet  /  Francis Ford Coppola  –  315
  4. George Stevens  /  David Lean  /  Robert Wise  /  Ron Howard  /  Woody Allen  /  Ang Lee  –  270
  • Yes, Ang Lee has now joined that chosen group with 270 points.
  • This is the 15th time that at least two of the nominated directors have already won the DGA (Spielberg – 85, 93, 98; Lee – 00, 05; Bigelow – 09; Hooper – 10).  It happened most recently last year (Woody Allen and Marty Scorsese), but before that, the last time it happened was in 2005 – when Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg faced off against each other (just like this year).
  • This is the 5th time that at least three of the nominated directors have already won the DGA – it happened in 1956 (when there were 10 nominees), 1960, 1966 and 1984.
  • But this is the 1st time that four of the nominated directors have already won the DGA.  Everyone but Affleck, who is a first-time nominee.
  • This is also the 1st time in DGA history that two directors will compete against each other who have already won 2 DGA awards – Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee.
  • For the second year in a row we only have one first-time nominee.  The whole stretch of 1989 to 2010 only had two years of only one first-time nominee.  Compare these last two years to 2006 and 07 when each year had four first-time nominees.
  • I will have to confirm this but if these are the five Oscar-nominated directors it might be the first time in history that an entire Oscar category is filled with Oscar winners (Affleck has an Oscar for writing).
  • Unlike last year, where Alexander Payne had waited seven years for his second nomination, Bigelow and Hooper only have had to wait 3 and 2 years respectively and both did it with their next films.

Notable Omissions:

  • This probably kills Quentin Tarantino’s chance for a Best Director nomination.  The last person to earn an Oscar nomination with only a Golden Globe nomination before it?  Barbet Schroeder in 1990 for Reversal of Fortune.  There have been 315 nominated directors at the Oscars since the DGA began giving out their awards in 1948.  233 of them earned a DGA nom, 19 others won a major critics award, 8 were nominated for the BAFTA (still possible for QT but less likely) and 2 earned Broadcast Film Critics nominations.  Yes, there have been wild cards who did it with basically nothing – Jason Reitman for Juno in 2007, Fernando Meirelles for City of God in 2003.  But twice in 12 years isn’t good odds for QT.
  • As for David O. Russell, the other big contender?  Well, he was always going to have trouble because he directed a comedy.  But he also missed out on a Globe nomination.  So, at this point, he would have to jump from the BFCA to the Oscars without a Globe or a DGA nom, which has only been done twice since the BFCA began in 1995 – Paul Greengrass in 2006 for United 93 (which won two major critics awards) and the Coens in 2010 with True Grit.