Oscar Watch: The DGA Nominees Offer Some Surprises

When the Producer’s Guild announced their 2011 nominees it cleared up most of the murky waters that surround the Oscar contenders. Many assumed that The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, and War Horse would be the major contenders from here on out, and most pundits, myself included, figured those film’s directors would get Oscar noms as well.

Well, the Director’s Guild have announced their nominees, and there are a few surprises when we look at who is and isn’t on their list. The DGA’s nominees usually line up exactly with those the Academy bring in for the big show, so for all intents and purposes, these five directors will get Oscar nods in a few weeks.

So here’s the list:

  • Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
  • David Fincher, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  •  Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

The major shock is the snubbing of Steven Spielberg for War Horse, a film that looks less and less likely to win the big prize. The other shock is David Fincher’s nod for the thoroughly mediocre Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. With a nom from the Producer’s, Writer’s, and now Director’s guild, Girl looks like a much stronger Best Picture contender than we all thought.

The big winners here though are Woody Allen and Alexander Payne. A few have been slotting The Artist as the probable victor, but with Midnight in Paris and The Descendants continuing to pull in love and a backlash brewing against The Artist, it really is a race between Midnight and Descendants to come from behind and snatch away victory.

It’s rare for the race to be so open ended this late in the game, but that’s making it a lot more fun for those like myself who enjoy watching the horse race.

My final predictions for Best Picture are that there’ll be 7 nominees, and they are:

  • HUGO

The Academy Award nominees will be announced on announced January 24th.

The DGA winners will be announced on January 28th.


John Shannon

John Shannon studied Creative Writing at the University of Maine where he also served as a film critic for the Maine Campus Newspaper. He currently resides in the greater Portland area of Southern Maine where he works by day and watches film by night. He can be reached via email at and followed on Twitter @JohnWShannon
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