Directors Guild of America Preview – Who Will the DGA Choose?

DGA-logoThe Directors Guild of America will announce their nominees tomorrow, adding even more questions to the mix.  AMPAS already turned in their ballots but it’ll be interesting where the group at large makes their choices.  The last time that the DGA weighed in without Oscar seeing it first, we got Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck omitted from Best Director.  This year, we could be in store for the same thing.

Here are the twelve main contenders for DGA (in no particular order):

  • Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
    The critical darling of the year.  Golden Globe win.  PGA nominated, SAG nominated, Critics Choice nominated.  A true lock if there ever was one.
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – “Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
    Fills the space for the technical marvel film of the year.  Lots of love for a director who finally hit the awards circuit on all cylinders.  Dark horse winner.
  • Morten Tyldum – “The Imitation Game”
    Harvey Weinstein factor in a film loved by the guilds so far.   A film that the British voting bloc can rally around.
  • Ava DuVernay – “Selma”
    Is the DGA in the mood to create some history with the first African-American woman nominated?  Screeners did not get to the guild in time so they would have had to actively seek the film out.
  • Clint Eastwood – “American Sniper”
    He’s Clint.  The Beloved.  The film capture more love than anyone would have thought and its still going strong.  Warner Bros. pounced at the right time, and the brilliant marketing has kept it afloat for some time.
  • Dan Gilroy – “Nightcrawler”
    People are looking at Damien Chazelle to be our Benh Zeitlin this year but Dan Gilroy’s thriller has people just screaming its name.  Tony Gilroy, surrounded by Open Road and a very savvy campaign team could get this much further than we would have initially suspected.
  • Bennett Miller – “Foxcatcher”
    The film has been a commodity since the 2013 awards season and everyone seems to be on board with it.  PGA noticed.  Golden Globes noticed.  The recent headlines, at least with other high profile directors, may have hurt but I think it actually helped him.
  • Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
    Talk about sprinting to the finish line.  Wes Anderson’s hugely popular feature has been cited by every single major guild this year (the only film to do so).  Is this where its going to stumble?  It’d be foolish to think it would.  Not with everything its been doing/winning.
  • James Marsh – “The Theory of Everything”
    The campaign for James Marsh and the film has been very present all season.  I’m unsure how much of that has bled over to its director but its safe to assume that he will surely get lots of votes.  How many, remains to be determined.
  • David Fincher – “Gone Girl”
    He’s Fincher.  “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” made a nice run for the Oscar podium, and it showed up with DGA.  How many guild members will reward it?  I honestly have no idea.  Some like it, some don’t.
  • Damien Chazelle – “Whiplash”
    Chazelle’s film has had staying power thanks to an almost assured win for J.K. Simmons.  The film is still flying under the radar for any locked nomination in any other category outside of Supporting Actor.  DGA would seal the deal for Picture at least.
  • Mike Leigh – “Mr. Turner”
    The movie is loved.  It’s done decently so far and every now and again, they throw something in the mix that we didn’t see coming.  What if Leigh is it?

LONGSHOTS (but still feasibly on the table)

  • Angelina Jolie – “Unbroken”
    “Unbroken” has a very solid box office but the reviews were not in its favor.  It’s not something that’s firmly on board with the guilds.  Its hope is the Oscars.
  • Rob Marshall – “Into the Woods”
    Musicals have performed pretty well in the DGA despite divisive reception.  Tom Hooper got in for “Les Miserables” and Walt Disney has done everything in its power to stay in the conversation.  Not sure if DGA will pull through for them.
  • J.C. Chandor – “A Most Violent Year”
    The film started off very strong with citations from the National Board of Review but quickly just fizzled out unfortunately.  If it still has some power left, Chandor could be a sign of good things to come on Thursday.
  • Christopher Nolan – “Interstellar”
    The PGA miss was pretty substantial and telling.  Nolan’s track record with the DGA has been solid, more so than Oscar.  With a focused campaign on the actors from Paramount Pictures, not sure that Nolan would reap the benefits of such a campaign.
  • Paul Thomas Anderson – “Inherent Vice”
    It’s weird and even the Writers Guild passed on it.  This would be a jaw-dropping inclusion.
  • Jean-Marc Vallée – “Wild”
    Reese Witherspoon is an assured entry for Best Actress and the script is fighting its way into Adapted Screenplay.  One year after “Dallas Buyers Club,” which had a much stronger showing and was passed on by DGA, are they really citing this effort from Vallee?  I highly doubt it.


  1. Richard Linklater
  2. Alejandro González Iñárritu
  3. Morten Tyldum
  4. Wes Anderson
  5. Dan Gilroy


  1. Ava DuVernay
  2. David Fincher
  3. Clint Eastwood
  4. James Marsh  
  5. Damien Chazelle 

Include your DGA predictions in the comments!Director

What do you think?

Film Lover

Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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