Tonight, the guild awards officially begin with the DGA. This could be a key night as the DGA has correctly guessed the Best Director Oscar 8 times out of the last ten years. The last four years have matched. And, seven times out of the last ten years it has awarded it to the director of the film that would later win Best Picture.
So, the question becomes who will win tonight? It's a crowded field. I could actually see four of the nominees winning. Tony Gilroy I think has the biggest outside shot due to the nature of his film. It's not mind blowing on a grand scale. Michael Clayton still does not impress me in that way. I look at it as a writer's piece and I believe the DGA will follow suit.
Julian Schnabel won the Golden Globe, but is that enough for him to win the DGA? I don't think so. While his direction is the highly acclaimed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is great, I don't see him competing with the other three guys in the category. It's a stacked crowd and it's going to be hard from separating from them.
Sean Penn might be the most interesting nominee of the bunch. He's an actor turned director. People love that. The DGA has awarded actors turned directors in the past from Ron Howard to Clint Eastwood to Kevin Costner. Could Sean Penn join the bunch? It's possible. The odd part to me is that Penn was not even nominated for an Oscar. If he were to win the DGA award. He would join a very short list of directors who won the DGA, but failed to receive an Oscar nom. The last to do it? Ron Howard in 1995. Before that? Steven Spielberg in 1985. Before that? Never (according to my research). I've come to realize that you can't base your award predictions solely on history, but that is an amazing stat. One thing I can base my prediction on is that Penn would have to beat the Coen Brothers or P.T. Anderson. Enough said.
People say it's the Joel & Ethan Coen's year. Maybe it is. Their direction is superb and the way tension is built in No Country is top notch. They have won many critic precursors. Tonight is the big test. To me, this is the biggest guild for Best Picture forecast. A win and you have to like the Coens going into Oscar night. A loss and many questions will be asked going into Oscar night.
The biggest competition to the Coen Brothers this year I really believe is Paul Thomas Anderson. His latest film, There Will Be Blood, is an epic on a grand scale. That's something that directors like. It's his statement to the world that he is one of the best filmmakers alive today. I've had this odd feeling in my stomach that he is going to win tonight and the whole race is going to shift. I could be completely wrong, but if I'm right remember you read it here first. I really do believe Blood is peaking and it's peaking at the right time (unlike Atonement which peaked in November).
Once I find out the winner tonight, I'll post some reaction. Sadly, the DGA awards is not televised, so I have to rely on the internet. Tomorrow is the SAG awards and that is televised. I'll have some predictions for that tomorrow.
Prediction: Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Spoiler: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood