Echoing much recent Oscar buzz, the 2018 DGA nominations went to the five lead contenders for Best Picture: Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Peele was also nominated for the first-time directing award, along with Geremy Jasper (“Patti Cake$”), William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”), Taylor Sheridan (“Wind River”) and Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”), whose movie is picking up guild nods and is a strong contender for the Adapted screenplay Oscar. (It was a good day for Fox Searchlight, which released “Three Billboards,” The Shape of Water” and “Patti Cake$”).
It’s Nolan’s fourth DGA nomination (if he gets an Oscar directing nod, it will be his first); Mexican Del Toro beat out British McDonagh, British Nolan, DGA-snubbed British Ridley Scott (“All the Money in the World”) and American Steven Spielberg (“The Post”) for Best Director at the Golden Globes and is the current favorite to win the Oscar. If he wins he joins his Mexican compadres A.G. Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron.
The 17,000 DGA directors, who tend to be more mainstream than their snobbier, more foreign-leaning counterparts in the Academy Directors Branch, included American Gerwig, the eighth woman filmmaker in DGA history — she joins Lina Wertmuller, Randa Haines, Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Valerie Faris and two-timer Kathryn Bigelow who won for 2008’s “The Hurt Locker” and went on to win Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.
And it’s unprecedented for no white American male to be among the nominees. Peele follows only Lee Daniels, Steve McQueen, and Barry Jenkins among DGA nominees of color.
Since 1948, only seven DGA winners have not also won the Best Director Oscar.
All five films have been collecting various critics and guild kudos along the way, and “Three Billboards” notably won four Golden Globes including Best Picture Drama. (The Critics Choice Awards Thursday night will be another bellwether.) SAG Ensemble nominations suggest strong support from the dominant actors branch for “Lady Bird,” “Get Out” and “Three Billboards.” Also getting SAG Ensemble nods are “Mudbound” and “The Big Sick.”
While “Call Me By Your Name,” “Wonder Woman,” “Phantom Thread,” “The Florida Project,” “Molly’s Game,” “I, Tonya” and “The Post” may be in contention for multiple Oscars including Best Picture, none are looking likely to win the big prize.
The DGA awards will be handed out February 3 with Judd Apatow as host.