DGA Nominations: Jane Campion, Kenneth Branagh and Denis Villeneuve Lead the Directors Field

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After a stampede of awards announcements that include ACE Eddies, Producers Guild and Writers Guild of America Awards, the prestigious Directors Guild of America Awards has finally weighed in with their own set of nominees that recognizes achievements in directing.

In the motion pictures category, the group nominated Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast” (Focus Features), Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix), Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing), Steven Spielberg for “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios) and Denis Villeneuve for “Dune” (Warner Bros).

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Notable snubs included Joel Coen (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”), Adam McKay (“Don’t Look Up”), Siân Heder (“CODA”), Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”) and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”).

Campion is the second woman ever to receive a second nod from the Directors Guild. Her first came nearly 20 years ago for “The Piano” (1993), for which she went on to become the second woman ever nominated for best director at the Oscars. Campion and “The Piano” ultimately lost to Steven Spielberg for “Schindler’s List.”

Campion joins a tiny list of only 11 women nominated by the DGA for directing. Last year had a record two women recognized with Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) and Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), with the latter winning the DGA prize and eventually the Oscar, only the second woman to win at the Academy Awards. Other female directors recognized by the Directors Guild include Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties”), Randa Haines (“Children of a Lesser God”), Barbra Streisand (“The Prince of Tides”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Valerie Faris (who shared her nom with co-director Jonathan Dayton for “Little Miss Sunshine”), Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”).

The DGA traditionally indicates the top five contenders in the best picture race. Only one DGA nominee in the expanded best picture era has failed to nab a best picture nomination: David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011). In the last decade, the winner of the DGA has gone on to win the Oscar for best director with the exception of two times: Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) over Sam Mendes (“1917”) and Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) over the Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck (“Argo”).

The first-time feature film director category, introduced in 2015, had many of the year’s top awards contenders in the mix, but no overlap in the two film spaces, even resulting in six nominees for the first time. Netflix nabbed four of its debut filmmakers in the field including Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”), Rebecca Hall (“Passing”), Tatiana Huezo (“Prayers for the Stolen”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Tick, Tick … Boom!”). The other two spots went to Michael Sarnoski for “Pig” and surprisingly (and deserving) Emma Seligman for “Shiva Baby.”

Past winners for first-time feature director have included Darius Marder (“Sound of Metal”), Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”), Garth Davis (“Lion”), Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”) and Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”), with only Peele securing an Oscar nomination. Burnham famously beat Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”) at the DGAs, who was nominated for both first-time feature director and best director but was ultimately snubbed for a best director Oscar nomination.

There have been seven women previously nominated for first-time director: Radha Blank (“The Forty-Year-Old Version”), Regina King (“One Night in Miami”), Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”), Kelly Fremon Craig (“The Edge of Seventeen”), Mati Diop (“Atlantics”), Melina Matsoukas (“Queen & Slim”) and the aforementioned Har’el.

The Directors Guild previously announced its nominees for documentary feature films and television series. Four of the five Oscar-shortlisted documentaries were recognized including “Ascension” (Paramount Plus), “Attica” (Showtime), “The Rescue” (National Geographic) and “Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu). “Exterminate All the Brutes” (HBO) was nominated by DGA and was not submitted for the Oscars.

The full list of nominees is below:

Outstanding Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film

  • Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”)
    (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing)
    Anderson’s Directorial Team:
    • Unit Production Manager: Sue McNamara
    • First Assistant Director: Adam Somner
    • Second Assistant Director: Trevor Tavares
    • Second Second Assistant Directors: Kasia Trojak, Bob Riley, David Marnell

  • Kenneth Branagh (“Belfast”)

  • Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)

  • Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”)
    (20th Century Studios)
    Spielberg’s Directorial Team:
    • Unit Production Managers: Carla Raij, Daniel Lupi
    • First Assistant Director: Adam Somner
    • Second Assistant Director: Jeremy Marks
    • Assistant Unit Production Manager: Robert T. Striem
    • Second Second Assistant Director: Josh Muzaffer
    • Additional Second Assistant Director: Billy Brennan
    • Location Managers: Robert T. Striem, Katherine Delaney

  • Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”)
    (Warner Bros. Pictures)
    Villeneuve’s Directorial Team:
    • Unit Production Managers: Joe Caracciolo, Jr., James Grant
    • First Assistant Director: Chris Carreras
    • Second Assistant Director: Tom Rye

Outstanding Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”)

  • Rebecca Hall (“Passing”)

  • Tatiana Huezo (“Prayers for the Stolen”)

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Tick, Tick … Boom!
    Miranda’s Directorial Team:
    • Unit Production Manager: Deb Dyer
    • First Assistant Director: Mariela Comitini
    • Second Assistant Directors: Josh A. Muzaffer, Luca Waldman
    • Second Second Assistant Directors: Melissa Morphet, Lincoln Major
    • Additional Second Assistant Director: Zach Citarella
    • Location Manager: Ryan Smith

  • Michael Sarnoski (“Pig”)

  • Emma Seligman (“Shiva Baby”)

This year’s DGA Awards will take place on March 12, with more details to come on the ceremony. Spike Lee is set to receive the lifetime achievement award at the ceremony.

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