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DGA Picks Top Five, All Studio Releases; Will Oscars Go Same Way? Russell, Tarantino Don't Make Cut

by Anne Thompson
January 8, 2013 1:15 PM
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Sally Field, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis at 'Lincoln' Premiere

The Directors Guild of America's five feature film nominations often indicate the frontrunners in the Oscar race. Very rarely (six times since 1948) has the DGA winner not gone on to accept the gold statue. Left out of this list are David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained").  This means that all five nominees are for studio releases, for the first time since 1991. ("Zero Dark Thirty" was an indie-financed Sony pick-up.)

As far as the Oscars go, the latest Gurus 'O Gold poll predicts that Russell will get the fifth slot over Hooper. The DGA is a much bigger, more mainstream group (14,000, including assistant directors) than the Oscar directors branch (400).

The DGA winners will accept their award at the 65th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. 

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):

'Life of Pi''s Ang Lee, Suraj Sharma, and David Magee
Kathryn Bigelow



(Warner Bros. Pictures)

 Mr. Affleck’s Directorial Team:

·         Unit Production Manager:  Amy Herman

·         First Assistant Director:  David Webb

·         Second Assistant Director:  Ian Calip

·         Second Second Assistant Directors: Clark Credle, Gavin Kleintop

·         First Assistant Director (Turkey Unit): Belkis Turan

This is Mr. Affleck’s first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.


Zero Dark Thirty

(Columbia Pictures)

Ms. Bigelow’s Directorial Team:

·         Unit Production Manager:  Colin Wilson

·         First Assistant Director:  David A. Ticotin

·         Second Assistant Directors:  Ben Lanning, Sarah Hood

·         First Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Scott Robertson

·         Second Assistant Directors (Jordan Unit): Jonas Spaccarotelli, Yanal Kassay

·         Second Second Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Tarek Afifi

·         Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Rajeev Mehra

This is Ms. Bigelow’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Hurt Locker in 2009.


Les Misérables

(Universal Pictures)

Mr. Hooper’s Directorial Team:

·         Unit Production Manager:  Patrick Schweitzer

·         First Assistant Director:  Ben Howarth

·         Second Assistant Director:  Harriet Worth

·         Second Second Assistant Director: Dan Channing Williams

This is Mr. Hooper’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The King’s Speech (2010) and was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series for John Adams in 2008.


Life of Pi

(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Lee’s Directorial Team:

·         Unit Production Manager:  Michael J. Malone

·         Unit Production Manager (Taiwan): Leo Chen

·         First Assistant Directors:  William M. Connor, Cliff Lanning

·         Second Assistant Directors:  Robert Burgess, Ben Lanning

·         Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Sanjay Kumar

·         First Assistant Director (India Unit): Nitya Mehra

·         Second Assistant Director (India Unit): Ananya Rane

·         Second Second Assistant Directors (India Unit): Namra Parikh, Freya Parekh

·         Second Assistant Directors (Montreal Unit): Derek Wimble, Renato De Cotiis

This is Mr. Lee’s fourth DGA Feature Film Award nomination.   He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and was nominated for Sense and Sensibility in 1995.



(DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Spielberg’s Directorial Team:

·         Unit Production Manager:  Susan McNamara

·         First Assistant Director:  Adam Somner

·         Second Assistant Director:  Ian Stone

·         Second Second Assistant Directors: Eric Lasko, Trevor Tavares

This is Mr. Spielberg’s eleventh DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film three times for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993) and The Color Purple (1985).  He was also nominated in this category for Munich (2005), Amistad (1997), Empire of the Sun (1987), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Jaws (1975).  Mr. Spielberg was honored with the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

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More: Awards, Awards, Oscars


  • Ashwin Pinto | January 8, 2013 10:57 PMReply

    This probably means that The Weinstein Co. is not going to threepeat for Best Picture for the Oscars. But this is a tight race between Bigelow and Spielberg. I wish Paul Thomas Anderson had been nominated instead of Hooper. But Hooper's nomination shows that 'Les Miserables' is stronger than people think it is. i still think that Paul has a shot at the Oscar nominations both for writing which he will get and directing.

  • JAB | January 8, 2013 8:47 PMReply

    (Haven't seen ZDT yet), the DGA totally got it right with the Affleck & Spielberg noms.

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