Directors Guild nominations make history with two female contenders
By Kyle Buchanan
The Directors Guild of America announced its feature-film nominees Monday that included more than one woman in the top directing category for the first time in the guild’s 72-year history.
The selection of Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”), Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), David Fincher (“Mank”), Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) and Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) contained no curveballs: These five films have all had strong awards-season runs and are considered to be best-picture locks when the Oscar nominations are announced March 15.
Still, the inclusion of both Zhao and Fennell in the same race was a first for the guild. Though eight of the previous 10 DGA Award lineups were all-male, the guild has a slim but somewhat better track record than the Oscars when it comes to nominating women: Lina Wertmüller, Randa Haines, Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Valerie Faris, Kathryn Bigelow and Greta Gerwig have all made the Directors Guild cut in years past, while only Wertmüller, Campion, Coppola, Bigelow and Gerwig were also nominated for an Oscar.
The guild’s selections tend to line up fairly closely with those of the movie academy, give or take one substitution: Last year, Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”), Sam Mendes (“1917”), Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”) were recognized by both groups, though DGA nominee Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”) was supplanted by “Joker” director Todd Phillips come Oscar time.
That could provide a path forward for the “One Night in Miami” director Regina King, who was nominated for the best-director Golden Globe but missed the cut here. The guild did recognize King in the category reserved for first-time filmmakers, where she was nominated alongside Radha Blank (“The Forty-Year-Old Version”), Fernando Frías de la Parra (“I’m No Longer Here”), Darius Marder (“Sound of Metal”), and Florian Zeller (“The Father”).
Here is the DGA Award nomination lineup:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement — Feature
“Mank,” David Fincher
“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung
“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao
“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin
Outstanding Directorial Achievement — First-Time Feature
“The Forty-Year-Old Version,” Radha Blank
“I’m No Longer Here,” Fernando Frías de la Parra
“One Night in Miami,” Regina King
“Sound of Metal,” Darius Marder
“The Father,” Florian Zeller
Outstanding Directorial Achievement — Documentary
“Boys State,” Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss
“My Octopus Teacher,” Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed
“The Painter and the Thief,” Benjamin Ree
“The Truffle Hunters,” Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw
“Welcome to Chechnya,” David France