Big last night with the DGA awards. Also, the ASC presented their cinematography prize last night, too. So, now what do we know? You have to be very daring to be going against the Coen brothers right now. The DGA is such a great predictor of the directing Oscar that it's difficult to think otherwise. I know recently their statistics aren't as impressive, but it's still a very good indicator. And, can Robert Elswit defeat the "mammoth" Roger Deakins? I think so.
So, does this mean that Anderson and Schnabel have no shot at an upset? Anything is possible, though unlikely. If you look at the last two directors to win the DGA and lose the Oscar, they are Rob Marshall (Chicago) and Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Marshall lost the Oscar to Roman Polanski even though everyone thought he would lose to Martin Scorsese. Lee lost to Steven Soderbergh (double nominee that year for Erin Brockovich and Traffic).
My feeling is that the last two times, there was a feeling of doubt. This year you feel confident that the Coens have enough support throughout the Academy to win. No Country has eight nominations and currently the frontrunner.
Sean Penn chose to no show the DGA Awards last night and I found that somewhat disappointing. Penn has been no to stick it to the award's shows, but I thought that was somewhat classless. His excuse? He started filming a movie. Right...
An interesting point was made after the DGA awards that I wanted to quickly write about. Did Paramount Vantage drop the ball and not get There Will Be Blood out to its members? It's possible, but is that the reason why Paul Thomas Anderson failed to win? No. I do believe P.T. will have his moment in the sun down the road. I just don't think it will be this year. As good as Blood is, it's simply difficult to believe that he will pull off the upset at the Oscars. Blood didn't connect to voters as easy as No Country did.
Robert Elswit beat double nominee Roger Deakins. Is this a sign of things to come? I think so. Personally, I have admired Elswit's work for years and to finally get the recognition is rightfully deserved. His partnership with Anderson is in top form with Blood. Deakins had arguably the better year with two amazing films of his own, but what one do you choose? Personally, I liked Jesse James' cinematography better, but No Country is the better known film. That's a dilemma for voters. The last person to get a double Oscar nomination in cinematography was Robert Surtees in 1971 for The Last Picture Show and Summer of '42. And yes, he lost.
I personally am not a big fan of double nominations in a single category. In acting, it's not allowed (though Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor double noms are) and I think it should be that way for any category. Yeah, some people have great years, but it can be a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure if he was the last person to hold the honor, but Steven Soderbergh got a double nomination for directing back in 2000. The reason he won was the category was weak and he clearly had a superior work (Traffic over Erin Brockovich). This made it easy for voters to know what film to vote for. Unless Deakins declares his preference, he could leave Oscar night empty handed.
Also, why are voting members of the guilds and/or Academy so dependent on Oscar screeners? This bothers me to no end. Go out to the theater! I'm positive that most members can afford a night out to the movies. I'm not saying they have to go out to see every movie, but I do find it frustrating that they don't see many movies unless they have the screener in their hand. My point is that the award chances of any movie (i.e. There Will Be Blood) should not be affected by if screeners are sent out to people. End rant.