Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Directors and the Sound Guys

The Director's Guild of America (the DGA) has a wonderful theater here in Manhattan where I've been able to attend a lot of interesting things -- most recently a conversation with Guillermo Del Toro and last year that PTA/Scorsese interview. I'm fond of them. The DGA holds its annual awards dinner on the 31st this year out in LA, where Roger Ebert is receiving a lifetime achievement award. The following directors will be honored as the best motion picture directors of 2008:

Don't cry too hard for the invaluable but snubbed Andrew Stanton (WALL•E is his third feature. He previously directed Finding Nemo and A Bug's Life). Turns out the DGA declares animated films off limits for this prize. How sad. Someone has to direct those things! Don't imagine that they storyboard themselves.

The DGA is the single best predictor each year of Oscar's Best Picture lineup --I've been predicting the same five for quite some time now but we didn't really need this reminder. It's proved to be a predictable five. It's the acting categories that have some doubt/action. It is interesting to note that the DGA don't do quite as well in predicting the eventual Director nominees. The DGA has thousands of members whereas the Academy's directors branch has but 374. The latter is a far more elite group so it's understandable that the DGA tilts mainstream. Oscar will sometimes veer from the DGA choices in order to honor smaller critical champs and/or world reknowned auteurs (Woody Allen, David Lynch, Pedro Almodovar or Mike Leigh have all had more luck with Oscar than with the DGA). If Oscar strays from the DGA list this year it could be for Mike Leigh again (Happy-Go-Lucky) or maybe Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler)... but you never really know about that fifth spot. I mean... do we really have to give Ron Howard another shot at the naked gold man?

Today we also got the official announcement of the Cinema Audio Society's nominees (broken by Awards Daily yesterday) who chose these movies as the tops in sound mixing:
The CAS's choices usually line up with Oscars to the tune of 4 out of 5... most vulnerable to a snub in two weeks time is probably Quantum of Solace since Oscar doesn't like Bond movies much. You can see the history I charted of their 007 indifference in this post from 2007. No Bond movie has been nominated in the sound categories since 1971 though the series did win one of its only two Oscars in sound, the sound effects of Goldfinger (1964) to be precise.
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28 comments:

Luigi De Angelis S. said...

No surprise. All men, all white and all Oscarish.

E Dot said...

zzzzz

NATHANIEL R said...

right? i've been having trouble sleeping so i'll just look at this list before i lay down tonight ;)

Sally Belle said...

Ditto.

PPO-10 said...

Were there any non-whites and/or females in the mix this year?

I mean...welcome to cinema.

Joe Reid said...

Man, who'd have ever thought we'd all be so ho-hum about a DGA lineup featuring David Fincher, Danny Boyle, Gus Van Sant, and Christopher Nolan?

NATHANIEL R said...

its' so true. I've wanted so many of them to be recognized in the past (particularly Fincher). But other than VAN SANT's offering i don't really care about these movies

Luigi De Angelis S. said...

PPO-10
Well, good point.
...But it is a very boring shortlist.

mrripley said...

me neither nat can onlt be behind milk which won't win anyway but i can cross my fingers oh and the wrestler,i though this was the small film that could but they went with feelgood instead how woefully preictable,come on get some edge!!!!

when are you updating predictions nat.

watched doubt how much screen time would you say viola has i say 8 mins judi dench ish.

Cristhian said...

don't wanna veer off the topic, but when are we expecting more FB awards? It's been a week!

NATHANIEL R said...

cristhian --you got the screenplays yesterday! my problem is always fifth slots and category placements. ARGH.

Robert said...

2008's movie headline: Talented directors lower standards to achieve Oscar recognition.

RahulB said...

It's kind of infuriating how dismissed animated films are - typically, they're the best movies of that year. Well, the really good ones.

I still don't think people should count out Wall-E - but that's because I can't fathom people genuinely enjoying Frost/Nixon or Benjamin Button more than Wall-E.

Luigi De Angelis S. said...

Anne Hathaway will win GOLD this year in the FBA, that's like Paris Hilton will win the Razzie Award this year for "The Hottie and the Nottie"... I am eager for the FBA too (I love the extras).

YH said...

I'm sorry, but ya'll are some jaded bitches. Sorry again, but even if you hate Opie and/or are indifferent about these films, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, and Danny freakin' Boyle are looking forward to their first directing Oscar nominations this month, and I'm thrilled as all get out over those prospects. Granted, I loved the three films that they made, but even if I didn't, I respect their overall careers enough to want to see them reach this milestone that they've never been able to reach before now.

The Jack said...

Don't you think it's a bit shameless that at the end of the DGA press release, they actually brag about what an accurate indicator they are of the Oscars? I expected that kind of behavior from the National Board Of Review but you DGA lot? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Michael C. said...

A Batman movie is a likely Best Picture nominee? Ho-hum. Yawn.

Mariposa said...

On a totally unrelated note: Anne Hathaway's Bride Wars is 0% at rottentomatoes... Is this her Norbit?

FenixPahedi said...

Just one thing to say: Wall-E ! Get that Nixon down of your seat !

L.P. said...

I'm kindof getting annoyed with all this Nolan hype. I mean the Dark Knight was peachy and all but come on! He had a massive budget. I think he is way more impressive on a smaller scale. Where was his nom for Memento?

The Jack said...

If we're talking about the DGA, then Nolan's nom for "Memento" was right where it was supposed to be - on the DGA nominations list.

Andy Scott said...

I feel like such a nerd, but I'm anticipating the Film Bitch acting nominees about as much as the Oscar nods. Is this when you know you're addicted to the internet? :)

Yaseen Ali said...

This may make me sound way out of the loop, but how has Frost/Nixon been given this easy pass into awards season? Sure, I get the Frank Langella stuff, but is anyone really that excited about this film? I haven't heard anyone (in real life or on the net) talk about it as passionately as the other Best Picture contenders.

Granted, I haven't seen it yet (tomorrow perhaps), but I just don't get it.

NATHANIEL R said...

yaseen... it is weird to me too. I mean, it's entertaining and all and it is a bio thing and they often dig those but it does seem a little weird how 'easy' it's been for frost/nixon to score.

but these things happen.

Arkaan said...

1. The kind of unchallenging mediocrity that Ron Howard creates is the kind of film that many academy members respond to. It's comfortable. It's predictable. It has the veneer of importance within the confines of Hollywood. I mean, we can list them off: Seabiscuit. The Green Mile. Chocolat. A Beautiful Mind. Finding Neverland. These aren't films that WE imagine getting enough number one votes, but time and time again, they do.

2. As boring as this list is, I wonder if we're to blame. I mean, those in the year-round prediction game, those who pay attention to festival buzz with our oscar ears. Frankly, even with my own preferences ignored and having only seen two of the nominees, the potential for the greatest line-up since 2001's Altman/Jackson/Lynch/Scott quartet is great (and yes, the same man spoils both).

3. I think Slumdog Millionaire is Danny Boyle's best film, and I'm a fan. I think The Dark Knight is not quite as good as Memento, but its ambition is commendable and its greatest moments are damn near untouchable.

4. Keep in mind that WALL.E was largely ineligible in all these awards (DGA, Producers Guild) and even it's snub at the WGA can easily be explained (it's predominantly a directorial vision, with very little dialogue). A little passion goes a long way with some of these awards - Moulin Rouge is the obvious example. Crash, The Thin Red Line, The Full Monty all benefited from passionate fanbases, and I don't think there's a film as purely loved as WALL.E - there's certainly nothing like it.

Joel said...

Kick out Howard and substitute in Aronofsky and its not a bad lineup (but hardly any of their best work for each).

Anonymous said...

I knew that "Frost/Nixon" would get recognized if the film did any justice to the stage play. It's high prestige factor, Tony-winning status, Peter Morgan's past acclaim for "The Queen", the potent Langella/Sheen combo, Oscar-winning director, and lastly this being an election year where people are in a particular mindset about politics and nostalgia, it's a perfect storm of sorts. The film's probably Howard's best (and having to defend him here makes me feel dirty BTW) since "Apollo 13." The film's worth all of its accolades it's received so far.

Jesus Alonso said...

I'm beginning to think Slumdog can actually win the Oscar. But why no-one is actually talking about Slumdog's main problem? No stars, no stablished actors, and Boyle hasn't got a real career in Hollywood (it's still mostly indie-european, pun intended), plus is competing with the Hollywood cachet of Fincher, Nolan, van Sant, Howard... all of them way more likely choices to award with the golden guy. Since Marty, no movie with an stablished star (bigger or lesser) has won Best Picture, and still Ernest Borgnine wasn't properly "unknown" plus the movie wasn't set in India.

Think twice... that's why I think that we won't be seeing Slumdog winning, but Buttom or The Dark Knight.