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The DGA and PGA are the best predictors of how the Best Picture race will go.

From GoldDerby: Since the Directors Guild of America aligned itself with the Oscars calendar in 1950, all but seven of its winners for Best Director have repeated at the Oscars. However, the guild does less well predicting the five Oscar nominees. In its first 15 years, there were anywhere from four to 18 DGA nominees. From 1963 – 1965, it went with five before going to 10 for the rest of the decade. Finally, beginning in 1970 it enshrined the number of nominees as five. And since then, there have only been five years where it previewed the exact lineup of Oscar contenders. 

The nominees are:

Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Adam McKay, The Big Short

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Ridley Scott, The Martian

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Ben Affleck continues his winning streak by winning the Directors Guild Award. It is an amazing comeback for a movie that in the Fall was beginning to fade. Spielberg was the one to beat. LINCOLN was going to win Best Picture. Now, not so much!

This pretty much seals the deal…The Oscar for Best Picture goes to ARGO.

Best Feature: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Documentary Feature: Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugarman
Best Animated Feature: Rich Moore – Wreck It Ralph

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The Directors Guild of America announced the documentary nominees for their awards on February 2nd.

KIRBY DICK
The Invisible War

MALIK BENDJELLOUL
Searching For Sugar Man

LAUREN GREENFIELD
The Queen of Versailles

DAVID FRANCE
How To Survive A Plague

ALISON KLAYMAN
Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

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The all important Directors Guild nominations were just announced. In years past we would use these nominations to predict best director Oscar noms. This year Oscar ballots are already in. Some directors prefer a DGA because it represents a larger group of their peers votes. The nominees are in alphabetical order:

Ben Affleck-ARGO

Katheryn Bigelow-ZERO DARK THIRTY

Tom Hooper-LES MISERABLES

Ang Lee-LIFE OF PI

Steven Spielberg-LINCOLN

Snubs: David O’Russell, Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson. I would have preferred anyone else in place of Tom Hooper.

A few things happened last week in Oscar news:

*Thursday Fox Searchlight announced that HITCHCOCK would be released November 23rd in time for and Oscar run. I previously did not think that it would be released this year because it just wrapped up filming in May. They some have a lot of confidence in Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock.

*LINCOLN will get its world premiere at the AFI Film Festival as the official Closing Film on November 8th. They purposely are waiting until right after the election as to not sway any voting. It’s official release is November 16th.

*The New York Post reported that LINCOLN “had a test screening Tuesday night at the AMC Garden State Plaza 16 in Paramus, N.J.” An anonymous person gave their thoughts…

The performances of Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hal Holbrook were great,” wrote this person, a passionate moviegoer who is not connected with the film industry, who flatly predicts that Day-Lewis will get a Best Picture nomination in the title role. “Sally Field was miscast as Mrs. Lincoln, Joseph Gordon Levitt as Lincoln’s eldest son was OK but he really didn’t add anything to the story.

“My biggest issue with the film as a whole was, it was boring,” this civilian viewer wrote. “With the film centering on the vote for the 13th amendment, ending slavery and the Civil War, you’d think Spielberg would have made a more exciting, riveting film. So much of the story takes place in small, smoky dark rooms with Lincoln talking to one or two people, that my mind began to wander. It felt claustrophobic.
If he had shown the horrors of slavery and the Civil War, it might have evened out the story. They pretty much kept the film centered around the politicians.”
I’m a big Spielberg fan, and I hope “Lincoln” works. If there are indeed problems with “Lincoln” — and, keep in mind, this is one nonprofessional’s opinion — Spielberg has seven weeks to try and fix things like, say, the pacing. And as Spielberg notes, test screenings can be deceiving. “Close Encounters” certainly worked out OK.

*The Directors Guild of America said that they will announce their nominations January 8th. The Oscar nominations will be two days later. This means that the DGA nominations will not effect the Oscar nominatons as in previous years.  The PGA nominations will also be announced after Oscar ballots close.