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 74 years of the DGA Awards have the Guild nominations exactly mirrored their Academy Award counterparts.
This time around Denis Villeneuve and Ryusuke Hamaguchi are in line with that predominant history. Hamaguchi this week earned a Best Director Oscar nod for Drive My Car (Janus Films and Sideshow). Villeneuve, who didn’t make the directorial Oscar cut, earned a DGA Award nomination for Dune (Warner Bros. Pictures).
Four of the five directors vying for the DGA Award and the Outstanding Achievement in Directing Oscar are in sync this year: Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza (MGM); Kenneth Branagh for Belfast (Focus Features); Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog (Netflix); and Steven Spielberg for West Side Story (20th Century Studios).
On the flip side of tradition, if Hamaguchi 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 though he didn’t garner a Best Director Oscar nomination, Villeneuve added to his Academy Award pedigree as Dune scored 10 nominations, the year’s second highest total (behind 12 for The Power of the Dog). For Dune Villeneuve scored a Best Picture Oscar nomination as a producer, and a Best Adapted Screenplay nod (shared with fellow writers Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth).
Dune’s eight other Academy Award nominations are for Cinematography, Sound, Visual Effects, Production Design, Original Music Score, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, and Costume Design.
Meanwhile Drive My Car garnered four nominations, two of which Hamaguchi had a direct hand in: Best Director; and Best Adapted Screenplay which he shared with Takamasa Oe. Drive My Car was also nominated for Best Picture and Best International Feature.
Drive My Car marks Hamaguchi’s first career Best Director Oscar nomination.
Villeneuve’s first and thus far sole directing Oscar nod came in 2017 for Arrival. Villeneuve has two DGA Award feature noms--for Arrival and Dune.
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.
Campion, a nominee for 1993’s The Piano, became the first woman to ever be nominated twice for the Best Director Oscar. Last year, Chloé Zhao became just the second woman to ever win the award--on the strength of Nomadland. The first woman to win the honor was Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.
Furthermore Campion’s DP on The Power of the Dog, Ari Wegner, became the second woman ever nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar. The first was Rachel Morrison for Mudbound in 2018.
Additionally, Troy Kotsur is just the second deaf actor to be nominated for an Oscar. His Best Supporting Actor nod came for his role in CODA (Apple Original Films) as the seafaring patriarch of a mostly deaf family whose sole hearing member aspires to be a singer. The first deaf actor to garner an Academy Award nomination was CODA co-star Marlee Matlin who was nominated--and won Best Leading Actress in 1987--for Children of a Lesser God.
And a couple of couples--Penelope Cruz and Javiar Bardem, and Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons--joined the likes of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as couples nominated for Oscars in the same year. Cruz, who’s married to Bardem, is a Best Actress nominee for Parallel Mothers (Sony Pictures Classics). Bardem’s performance in Being the Ricardos (Amazon Studios) garnered a Best Actor nod.
Dunst and Plemons, who live together and have two sons, were nominated in the supporting categories for portraying a married couple in The Power of the Dog.
This is the 11th installment of a 16-part series with future installments of The Road To Oscar slated to run in the weekly SHOOT>e.dition, The SHOOT Dailies and on SHOOTonline.com, with select installments also in print issues. The series will appear weekly through the Academy Awards gala ceremony. The 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT and in more than 200 territories worldwide.