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2023 DGA Awards TV and Documentary Nominations Predictions: More Endings Than Beginnings

The 2023 DGA Awards nominations, announced on Jan. 10, are not likely to include many shows that premiered within the last six months.

Barry Season 3 Bill Hader HBO

Bill Hader in “Barry”

Courtesy of HBO

The 75th annual Directors Guild of America Awards will announce nominations for the television categories Tuesday, January 10. Voting opened December 9 and runs through Friday, January 6. Awards will be given out Saturday, February 18 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. For more on the film ceremony, head to IndieWire’s Awards Calendar.

The Directors Guild Awards tend to have some interesting quirks, especially when it comes to the TV and Documentary categories. Just last year, the organization filled its Drama Series category full of “Succession” episodes, proving when directors love a show, they really love it. Though the list of Documentary nominees often has crossover with the Oscars, last year was also an example of how TV-specific projects like Raoul Peck’s HBO docuseries “Exterminate All the Brutes” can break in too.

Add in rules about how shows need to be a DGA signatory, or the director Hwang Dong-hyuk a DGA member (hence last year’s snub of “Squid Game” helmer Hwang Dong-hyuk, who’d go on to win the Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series Emmy), and one sees a very unique pool of awardsworthy talent.

Below, IndieWire makes predictions for what comedies, dramas, limited series, documentaries, and even TV movies will receive a 2023 Directors Guild Award nomination when the Television, Documentary, and Commercials nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 10.

Comedy Series

Jean Smart and Hannah Eindbinder start in ‘Hacks’ Season 2 for HBO Max. Photos by Karen Ballard

“Hacks”

Photo by Karen Ballard/HBO Max

Lucia Aniello, “Hacks” – “There Will Be Blood” (HBO Max)
Randall Einhorn, “Abbott Elementary” – “Development Day” (ABC)
Bill Hader, “Barry” – “710N” (HBO)
Christopher Storer, “The Bear” – “Review” (Hulu)
Mike White, “The White Lotus” – “Arrivederci” (HBO)

The State of the Race: Though using a different eligibility window than the Emmys opens the DGA Awards categories up for new blood, there sadly have not been any comedies outside “The Bear” that have garnered attention for their directing specifically. Feels safe to predict the tense, cinematic seventh episode of FX on Hulu’s summer hit will be the one awards season edition to break in. With “Abbott Elementary,” it is a little more complicated. Technically, the pilot, which was nominated for an Emmy, first premiered at the end of 2021, putting it on the fringes of the eligibility window. It is an undeniable hit though, with executive producer Einhorn being the most likely push for the award. The Season 2 opener, which is firmly a 2022 episode, would make sense as the episode voters land on honoring if they want to recognize the ABC sitcom. As for returnees, past winners Aniello and Hader, and past nominee White all delivered the best episodes yet of their ongoing shows, so the DGA is even more likely to reward them for those.

Drama Series

Ozark. (L to R) Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde, Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde in Season 4 Part 2 Episode 7 of Ozark. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Laura Linney and Jason Bateman in “Ozark

Courtesy of Netflix

Jason Bateman, “Ozark” – “A Hard Way to Go” (Netflix)
Matt and Ross Duffer, “Stranger Things” – “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback” (Netflix)
Peter Gould, “Better Call Saul” – “Saul Gone” (AMC)
Miguel Sapochnik, “House of the Dragon” – “The Heirs of the Dragon” (HBO)
Ben Stiller, “Severance” – “The We We Are” (Apple TV+)

The State of the Race: Consider this the category for swan songs. In the case of Gould and Bateman, they are working on finally getting a win for the bittersweet series finales of their previously nominated shows. Both the Duffer Brothers and Stiller helmed buzzy season finales that put the characters of both “Stranger Things” and “Severance” at a whole new starting line for their upcoming seasons. Lastly, Miguel Sapochnik, a previous winner for his “Game of Thrones” work, had an exit of a different kind, exiting the producing team of prequel series “House of the Dragon,” but voters are sure to still be excited by the talented filmmaker’s return to Westeros, and all the world building he did in the pilot. Not all love is granted equally though, so there is a chance guild members could act as they did last year, and focus the nominations on a smaller group of shows.

Movies for Television and Limited Series

The Dropout -- “Green Juice” - Episode 103 -- As Theranos rapidly expands, Elizabeth’s technology struggles to keep pace and members of the board become increasingly wary of her secretive behavior. Sunny considers joining the company. Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), shown. (Photo by: Beth Dubber/Hulu)

“The Dropout”

HULU

Michael Showalter, “The Dropout” – “Green Juice” (Hulu)
Francesca Gregorini, “The Dropout” – “Iron Sister” (Hulu)
Eric Appel, “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” (Roku Channel)
Paris Barclay, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” – “Silenced” (Netflix)
Kim McKay, “Black Bird” – “WhatsHerName” (Apple TV+)

The State of the Race: Again, because the TV calendar favors Emmys consideration above all, the category recognizing limited series falls right at a time where voters saw many presumed contenders like “The Dropout” so long ago, but have not had many new limited series arrive soon enough for them to want to change their minds. Projects like Eric Appel’s “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” or the sixth episode of Netflix mega-hit “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” directed by Barclay, one of the DGA’s recent lifetime achievement recipients, have generated enough noise to pique other directors’ interests. Outside of that, maybe bet on one of IndieWire’s highlights, “Black Bird,” which was not exactly a watercooler show as a July release, but is definitely the kind of crime drama voters often appreciate.

Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

“All That Breathes”

Courtesy of the IDA

Shaunak Sen, “All That Breathes” (HBO Documentary/Sideshow)
Laura Poitras, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon)
Daniel Roher, “Navalny” (CNN/Warner Bros.)
Ryan White, “Good Night Oppy” (Amazon Studios)
W. Kamau Bell, “We Need to Talk About Cosby” (Showtime)

The State of the Race: Shifting into Oscars mode, Sundance breakout “All That Breathes” has racked up enough wins from influential awards bodies to be a mainstay in any category this winter that has the word “documentary” in it. Similarly, Poitras’ “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” made practically every critics’ Best Films of the Year list (including ours). Famously, when Ben Affleck was snubbed by the Academy’s Directors branch, it was the DGA that swooped in to not only nominate him, but give him the award. That kind of scenario could happen this year with White’s crowd pleasing “Good Night Oppy,” which fell short of making the Documentary Feature shortlist, but still has plenty of filmmaker fans from other corners of the movie landscape. As previously mentioned, the DGAs do mix theatrical and televised projects in this category specifically, so Roher’s “Navalny,” which was a film festival favorite turned HBO Max highlight is likely to make the cut, as is “We Need to Talk About Cosby,” the Showtime docuseries that’s most akin to past winner “OJ: Made in America.”

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