‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Manchester by the Sea’ Earn Directors Guild Nominations

Damien Chazelle la la land BTS
Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

The Directors Guild of America has nominated Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”), Garth Davis (“Lion”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) for its top feature film award.

The DGA also nominated Davis on Thursday for its first-time director award along with Tim Miller for “Deadpool,” Kelly Fremon Craig for “Edge of Seventeen,” Nate Parker for “The Birth of a Nation” and Dan Trachtenberg for “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

The winners will be announced at 69th Annual DGA Awards on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The DGA nominations for the TV, commercial and movie documentary categories were announced Wednesday.

The DGA, which has 16,000 members, overlooked contenders David Mackenzie (“Hell or High Water”), Martin Scorsese (“Silence”), Mel Gibson (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and Denzel Washington (“Fences”).

Chazelle, Davis, Jenkins, Lonergan and Villeneuve are all receiving DGA feature film nominations for the first time. The nomination of Davis, an Australian who received a DGA nom for commercials in 2009, was the biggest surprise — though “Lion” has gained momentum this week with a nomination Tuesday for the Producers Guild of America’s Darryl Zanuck award.

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Chazelle and Jenkins have emerged as the front-runners in the directing category. Chazelle won the directing award at the Golden Globes on Jan. 8 for “La La Land” as part of the musical’s sweep. Jenkins won the directing awards for “Moonlight” from the National Board of Review and the National Society of Film Critics.

Jenkins said in a statement, “I attended the 2006 DGA Awards ceremony as a guest of Darnell Martin, who was nominated for her work on ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’ I had been Darnell’s assistant on the film, and she wanted me to be in that room to see and feel the spirit of the guild. It was one of the most humbling, invigorating nights of my life. To be back there under these circumstances is the highest honor. To the Directors Guild of America, my sincerest thanks.”

Davis said he was humbled and astonished: “Deepest thanks to the DGA for these nominations – I can’t thank you enough for this support. Love and thanks goes to the entire cast and crew, whose immense passion and commitment made this possible, and to the Brierley family – your trust and openness touched us so deeply and allowed us to do our best work on ‘Lion.’ Thank you to my family, and to all the families of the crew that support us in all we do.”

“The Revenant” director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won the DGA award last February — marking the first back-to-back DGA win for any director following his 2015 award for “Birdman.”

The DGA award is one of the top indicators of Oscar sentiment with all but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 going on to take the Best Director Oscar. The last divergence came in 2013 when Ben Affleck won the DGA award for “Argo” even though he did not receive an Oscar nom.

About 80% of DGA nominees have gone on to be nominated for an Oscar in recent years. Along with Inarritu, the DGA nominated Tom McCarthy  for “Spotlight,” Adam McKay for “The Big Short,” George Miller for “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Ridley Scott for “The Martian” last year; Scott was excluded in the Oscar noms in favor of “Room” director Lenny Abrahamson.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the Oscar nominations on Jan. 24.

For Parker, the DGA nomination is the first awards recognition he’s received since “Birth of a Nation” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, won the best U.S. dramatic film award and was sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million.

Controversy hit Parker in August as details emerged over a 1999 case in which Parker and his friend, Jean Celestin, were charged with raping an 18-year old, who claimed she was unconscious after drinking heavily. Parker was acquitted of the rape charges in 2001, but Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault.

Alex Garland won the inaugural first-time feature award last year for “Ex Machina.”

The DGA includes the entire director team as part of the nominations, which are:

Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
(Lionsgate)

Mr. Chazelle’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
– First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
– Second Assistant Director: Paula Case
– Assistant Unit Production Manager: Bart Lipton
– Second Second Assistant Director: Brett Robinson
– Additional Second Assistant Director: Dodi Rubenstein

This is Mr. Chazelle’s first DGA Award nomination.

Garth Davis, “Lion”
(The Weinstein Company)

Mr. Davis’s Directorial Team:
– First Assistant Director: Chris Webb
– First Assistant Director: Ananya Rane (India Unit)
– Second Assistant Directors: Mark Ingram (Australia Unit), Sunny Tiku (India Unit), KP Singh (India Unit), Shaunak Kapur (India Unit)

This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Davis. He is also nominated in the First-Time Feature Film category for Lion. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials in 2009 for “Shadow Puppets,” U.S. Cellular.

Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
(A24)

Mr. Jenkins’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Jennifer Radzikowski

This is Mr. Jenkins’s first DGA Award nomination.

Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
(Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)

Mr. Lonergan’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Declan Baldwin
– First Assistant Director: Michael J. Moore
– Second Assistant Director: David Blazina
– Second Second Assistant Directors: Tim LaDue, Scooter Perrotta

This is Mr. Lonergan’s first DGA Award nomination.

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
(Paramount Pictures)

Mr. Villeneuve’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Stan Wlodkowski
– First Assistant Director: Donald L. Sparks
– Second Assistant Director: Brigitte Goulet
– Second Second Assistant Director: Karine P. Labelle

This is Mr. Villeneuve’s first DGA Award nomination.

Nominees for the first-time director award are:

Garth Davis, “Lion”
(The Weinstein Company)

Mr. Davis’s Directorial Team:
– First Assistant Director: Chris Webb
– First Assistant Director: Ananya Rane (India Unit)
– Second Assistant Directors: Mark Ingram (Australia Unit), Sunny Tiku (India Unit), KP Singh (India Unit), Shaunak Kapur (India Unit)

This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Davis. He is also nominated in the Feature Film category for Lion. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials in 2009 for “Shadow Puppets,” U.S. Cellular.

Kelly Fremon Craig, “The Edge of Seventeen”
(STX Entertainment)

Ms. Fremon Craig’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Brendan Ferguson
– Production Manager: Dan Clarke
– First Assistant Director: James Bitonti
– Second Assistant Director: Daniel Mansfield

This is Ms. Fremon Craig’s first DGA Award nomination.

Tim Miller, “Deadpool”
(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Miller’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: John J. Kelly
– First Assistant Director: James Bitonti
– Second Assistant Director: Daniel Mansfield

This is Mr. Miller’s first DGA Award nomination.

Nate Parker, “The Birth of a Nation”
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Mr. Parker’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Mark Moran
– First Assistant Director: Tomas Deckaj
– Second Assistant Director: Mark C. Stevens
– Second Second Assistant Director: Scott Bowers

This is Mr. Parker’s first DGA Award nomination.

Dan Trachtenberg, “10 Cloverfield Lane”
(Paramount Pictures)

Mr. Trachtenberg’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Robert J. Dohrmann
– First Assistant Director: Jason Blumenfeld
– Second Assistant Director: Paul B. Uddo
– Second Second Assistant Director: Jonathan M. Warren
– Location Manager: Batou A. Chandler

This is Mr. Trachtenberg’s first DGA Award nomination.

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  1. MichaelSoiff says:

    Я уже посмотрел этот фильм на нормальном сайте, просто супер, не зря его так долго ждал!
    Кто ещё не видел, смотрим здесь, ребята – HD17.RU

  2. Tender Puppy! says:

    McNary, as you mentioned with Abrahamson’s well-deserved Oscar nod (I would’ve gone further and substituted Haynes in place of McKay, the worst nominee), I suspect Davis won’t make the Oscar cut to create a 5/5 match. This is more indicative of Lion‘s overall power across the board in achieving a Best Picture nomination. Back when there were 5 nominees, usually the 5 DGA nominees = 5 Best Picture nominees, although sometimes one of the directors nominated were substituted for a lone director from another film. I can see Davis replaced by Scorsese, as a legend like him can easily garner respect from the Academy and sneak into the Best Director category despite missing almost every precursor. But the other 4 feel like the real deal to me. I’m guessing Gibson can’t escape his past and too many Academy members can’t bring themselves to nominate him. Shame. Maybe David Mackenzie will sneak in, if Hell or High Water has enough support from the branch. I’m skeptical though.

  3. Steve Barr says:

    Lion also known as Slumdog 2.No Hacksaw. No Hell or High Water . Nice movie but give me a break..

    • Tender Puppy! says:

      Lion is a great film, but I wouldn’t have selected Davis as a Top 5 standout. First Film, yes, that’s quite a worthy nomination. But this is less indicative of Davis’s potential in Director than it is just further signifying the film as a whole is a guaranteed lock for a BP nomination. I guess the technical achievements Dave mentioned (such as fantastic direction of Pawar) are a big factor here. Gibson, Scorsese, or Mackenzie would’ve been my choice as well. I’m just soooo happy for Villeneuve though that I can’t gripe.

  4. drush76 says:

    T.J. Miller got nominated for “DEADPOOL”?? For that overrated movie?

  5. Tender Puppy! says:

    When is Kris Tapley going to admit that Arrival is a lock?

  6. LOL says:

    Mel Gibson has been robbed!

  7. Dex says:

    Kudos to the DGA for presenting a well-thought out, intriguing list of nominees. Too bad the suspense has been killed by a miserably predictable year.

  8. BD says:

    Nice of them to remember Parker and Birth of a Nation once existed. At least somebody remembers what was said a year ago when no controversy was around. It was apparently the most amazing film, it was an instant frontrunner for the Oscars, Parker and movie killer Armie Hammer were instantly considered to be in the acting races, and then when it was controversy time, everybody either forgot what they said back in january and turned on it to not be sweapt in the controversy, or critics were faking it, praising a movie that wasn’t worth praising, most likely do to the present #oscarssowhite controversy.

    As for Garth Davis, who wasn’t surprised by this? I thought either McKenzie, Gibson or even Scorsese and his DOA film would be nominated for that fourth/fifth slot along Villeneuve.

  9. ganzo1969 says:

    what about Don Cheadle for “Miles Ahead”? He seems to have been forgotten, buried in an avalanche of passing months.

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