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Home / Michael Sarnoski

Directors Guild awards likely to foreshadow Oscar success

In an event that often foreshadows Oscar night success, the Directors Guild of America will hold its 74th annual awards ceremony Saturday evening, with Steven Spielberg, Jane Campion, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Thomas Anderson and Denis Villeneuve vying for the top prize.

Spielberg is nominated for “West Side Story,” Campion for “The Power of the Dog,” Branagh for “Belfast,” Anderson for “Licorice Pizza” and Villeneuve for “Dune.” Spielberg, Campion, Branagh and Anderson are all also nominated for the Oscar for best director.

The DGA Award is historically a solid predictor of who will take home the Academy Award for best director. Since 1948, there have only been eight times that the winner of the DGA award for feature film directing has not gone on to win the Oscar for best director. The most recent time was in 2020, when Sam Mendes won the DGA Award for “1917,” but the Oscar went to Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite.”

Last year, both honors went to “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao, who became only the second woman to win the DGA’s top prize and the Oscar. Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win the awards, for 2008’s “The Hurt Locker.”

The nomination for Spielberg is the 11th of his career. He has won the DGA Award three times, for “Saving Private Ryan,” “Schindler’s List” and “The Color Purple.” He also received the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Campion was previously nominated for the award for “The Piano,” while Villeneuve was nominated for “Arrival” and Anderson was nominated for “There Will be Blood.” Branagh is a first-time DGA nominee.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lin-Manuel Miranda are among those nominated for DGA’s best first-time director award — Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter” and Miranda for “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” Also nominated in the category are Rebecca Hall for “Passing,” Tatiana Huezo for “Prayers for the Stolen,” Michael Sarnoski for “Pig” and Emma Seligman for “Shiva Baby.”

On the small screen, directors of HBO’s “Succession,” a comedy-tinged drama about the four grown children of a mogul vying to succeed their father in running a media and entertainment conglomerate, swept all five nominations in the drama series category. In the comedy series category, directors of Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” — the story of a perennially upbeat football coach who takes over an English soccer club — scored three of the five nominations.

The awards will be presented at the Beverly Hilton hotel, in a ceremony hosted by comedian/director Judd Apatow. He previously hosted the ceremony in 2018 and 2020. The DGAs were presented virtually last year.

During the event director Spike Lee will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award in Feature Film, and assistant director Joseph P. Reidy will receive the DGA’s Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is presented to an assistant director or unit production manager for career achievement in the industry and service to the guild. Stage manager Garry W. Hood will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award, which is given to an associate director or stage manager for service to the industry and the DGA.

Click here for a full list of nominees.

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