Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Predicting the Director's Guild

The title of this post may as well be "Predicting Best Picture", because effectively at least four of the five nominated DGA directors go on to have their respective films nominated in the most prestigious category in the cinematic field. Yet the prominent presence of Julian Schnabel in this race instigates problems. I have no doubt that he will be nominated here, and at Oscar, but his film? I'm not so sure. And if Diving Bell isn't in AMPAS' top five this year that means that DGA (going by the past few years) must leave out men with films that have no chance at getting a BP Nom, such as the popular veterans Sidney Lumet and Mike Nichols, and men whose pictures could fail to make the grade, such as Tim Burton, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Ridley Scott.

But that all depends on what you deem to be the strongest films of the moment. A couple of weeks ago I didn't think that There Will Be Blood would cut the mustard with Oscar -- especially in a year where it could end up taking the place of a much-needed comedy or musical. For me the strongest three films are No Country For Old Men, Atonement, and Michael Clayton. I'm basing this on that they're the only three that have maintained their buzz and been a presence at the major precursors (with Atonement's SAG shutout an obvious exception). So the other two must come from either Into the Wild, American Gangster, Juno, Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood, or at a stretch but less likely, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

For me, Into the Wild and American Gangster seem to be the safest two choices on offer, being the least heavy and challenging. That's not a criticism, well certainly not of Into the Wild, which I haven't yet seen, but Gangster certainly doesn't ask much of its audience. Sweeney Todd takes risks with its music and dark subject matter, Juno takes risks with its youthful and daring attitude towards pregnancy, and There Will Be Blood is ambitious and apparentely not always pleasurable. I'd like to think that they will choose at least one of the daring directors, so I'm going to predict one, but it's partly in hope.

My predictions are (In order of most likely):

Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country For Old Men
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Joe Wright - Atonement
Sean Penn - Into the Wild
Tim Burton - Sweeney Todd

Alternate: Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

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