Nomination Déjà vu: DGA Award, Best Director Oscar Discrepancy Continues
Joseph Kosinski
Ruben Östlund earns an Academy Award nom but is not among Guild nominees; Joseph Kosinski scores DGA recognition but no directorial Oscar nod

The awards season norm has seen the nearly annual occurrence of at least one difference between the lineups of Best Director Oscar and the DGA Award nominees. In only five of the 75 years of the DGA Awards have the Guild nominations exactly mirrored their Academy Award counterparts.

This time around Joseph Kosinski and Ruben Östlund are in line with that predominant history. Östlund this week earned a Best Director Oscar nod for Triangle of Sadness (Neon). Kosinski, who didn’t make the directorial Oscar cut, earned a DGA Award nomination for Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

Five of the six directors (including one duo) vying for the DGA Award and the Outstanding Achievement in Directing Oscar are in sync this year: Todd Field for Tár (Focus Features); Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka Daniels) for Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24); Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures); and Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans (Amblin Entertainment, Universal Pictures).

On the flip side of tradition, if Östlund were to win the directing Oscar, he wouldn’t be aligned with but rather bucking history. Only eight times has the DGA Award winner not gone on to win the Oscar. That happened most recently in 2020 when Sam Mendes won the DGA Award for 1917 while Bong Joon Ho scored the Oscar for Parasite.

Even without a Best Director nomination, Top Gun: Maverick tallied six Oscar nods--Best Picture, Film Editing, Original Song (“Hold My Hand”), Sound, Visual Effects and Adapted Screenplay.

Meanwhile Triangle of Sadness scored three Oscar nominations--Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay (the latter two for writer-director Östlund).

This year’s Best Director Oscar category features five first-time nominees (Field, Kwan, Scheinert, McDonagh and Östlund)--and one who registered his ninth career nod (Spielberg). 

Including his current nominations for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay for The Fabelmans, Spielberg has an overall career tally of 22 Oscar nominations (including the nine for Best Director). He won Oscars for Directing and Best Picture for Schindler’s List (1993), and for Directing for Saving Private Ryan (1998). Additional Best Director nominations were for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Munich (2005), Lincoln (2012) and West Side Story (2021). Additional Best Picture nominations were for E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, The Color Purple (1985), Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), War Horse (2011), Lincoln, Bridge of Spies (2015), The Post (2017), and West Side Story. Spielberg received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1986.

Though this is his first Best Director Oscar nod, McDonagh is no stranger to the nominees’ circle. Including his other nominations this year for Best Picture and Original Screenplay for The Banshees of Inisherin, McDonagh has a career total of seven Academy Award noms. McDonagh won an Oscar for his live-action short film Six Shooter (2005). He was nominated for his Original Screenplay for In Bruges (2008), and for Best Picture and his Original Screenplay for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).

Field meanwhile has six career nominations--three this year for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay on the basis of Tár. He was earlier nominated for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay for In the Bedroom (2001), and for the adapted screenplay for Little Children (2006).

For Everything Everywhere All at Once, Kwan and Scheinert scored their first career Oscar nominations--for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

And Östlund’s two career Oscar nominations came this year for Triangle of Sadness--Best Director and Original Screenplay.

Historic developments
In contrast to the recurring history between the Best Director Oscar and DGA Award, historic happenings of the rare variety also marked the latest Academy Award proceedings relative to directors.

On the strength of Everything Everywhere All at Once, Kwan and Scheinert became just the fourth duo to garner a Best Director Oscar nomination. Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise were nominated and won for co-directing the original West Side Story in 1962. Joel and Ethan Coen were nominated, and won, for co-directing No Country for Old Men in 2008, and got another nom for True Grit three years later. And actor Warren Beatty and screenwriter Buck Henry were jointly nominated for Best Director in 1979 for Heaven Can Wait.

Another filmmaker enjoyed a rare accomplishment that was separate from being recognized for directing. Ryan Coogler, who helmed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, joined an exclusive group that has been nominated for Best Picture--as a producer on Judas and the Black Messiah in 2020--and as a writer of a best original song, as he was for Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” this year from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Others to score this double achievement include Quincy Jones, Spike Jonze, Barbra Streisand and Fran Walsh. The latter became the only person to win in both categories, for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, in 2004.

This is the 12th installment of a 17-part series with future installments of The Road To Oscar slated to run in the weekly SHOOT>e.dition, The SHOOT Dailies and on, with select installments also in print/PDF issues. The series will appear weekly through the Academy Awards gala ceremony. Nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 24. The 95th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 12.

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