Opting mostly for history-based spectacles, the Directors Guild of America has nominated Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”), Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), David O. Russell (“American Hustle”) and Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) for its top feature film award.
The winner will be announced Jan. 25 at the 66th DGA Awards ceremonies at the Century Plaza Hotel, based on voting by the 15,000 DGA members.
It was the eighth DGA film nomination for Scorsese, who won in 2006 for “The Departed.” Russell picked up his second DGA nomination, two years after receiving a nod for “The Fighter” while the DGA nominations were the first for Cuaron, Greengrass and McQueen.
“It’s beyond humbling,” Russell told Variety. “I never expect anything especially since I didn’t get it last year for ‘Silver Linings Playbook.'”
Russell said that the film may have resonated within the DGA because of its exuberance and sincerity. He found out while he was being interviewed with Bradley Cooper about “American Hustle” for NBC’s “Dateline.”
“Bradley and I embraced,” he said. “There’s really no bad way to find out about this except when your phone doesn’t ring.”
All five nominations went to directors who have been considered front-runners during the awards season. The key exclusions among awards season contenders included Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”), Spike Jonze (“Her”), Joel and Ethan Coen (“Inside Llewyn Davis”), Woody Allen (“Blue Jasmine”), John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks”), Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”), Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”) and Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club”).
Cuaron, Greengrass, McQueen, Payne and Russell received Golden nominations last month while Scorsese was excluded. “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” are the only films to have received nominations for the SAG ensemble cast and the best feature award for the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America.
Ben Affleck won the DGA award last year for “Argo,” becoming only the seventh DGA winner not to also receive a directing Oscar in the 65 years of the DGA Awards. The DGA and Oscar had matched for the nine previous years, last diverging in 2003, when it selected Marshall for “Chicago” and the Oscar went to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.”
Besides Affleck, the DGA’s nominees last year included Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”). Only Lee and Spielberg received directing Oscar noms and Lee won his second Oscar.
Oscar voting for nominations closes Wednesday and nominations will be announced Jan. 16. The directors branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has 377 members or about 6% of the total of 6,028.
DGA president Paris Barclay announced the nominations Tuesday and said in a statement: “To be chosen by your peers in a year full of incredibly well-crafted films is the true marker of outstanding directorial achievement. The passion and vision of each of the nominees resulted in tremendously diverse films that kept audiences mesmerized. Congratulations to each of the nominees on a job very well done.”
The DGA’s nominees for TV and commercials will be announced Thursday and its documentary nominees will be disclosed Monday.
The feature film nominees and their teams:
ALFONSO CUARÓN FOR “GRAVITY”
(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Cuarón’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Manager: David Siegel (Arizona Unit)
• First Assistant Directors: Josh Robertson, Stephen Hagen (Arizona Unit)
• Second Assistant Director: Ben Howard
This is Mr. Cuarón’s first DGA Award nomination.
PAUL GREENGRASS FOR “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”
Mr. Greengrass’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Managers: Todd Lewis, Gregory Goodman
• First Assistant Director: Chris Carreras
• Second Assistant Directors: Nick Shuttleworth, Mark S. Constance
This is Mr. Greengrass’s first DGA Award nomination.
STEVE McQUEEN FOR “12 YEARS A SLAVE”
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Mr. McQueen’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Manager: Anthony Katagas
• First Assistant Director: Doug Torres
• Second Assistant Director: James Roque Jr.
• Second Second Assistant Director: Sherman Shelton Jr.
• Additional Second Assistant Director: Nathan Parker
This is Mr. McQueen’s first DGA Award nomination.
DAVID O. RUSSELL FOR “AMERICAN HUSTLE”
Mr. Russell’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Managers: Shea Kammer, Mark Kamine
• First Assistant Director: Michele ‘Shelley’ Ziegler
• Second Assistant Director: Xanthus Valan
• Second Second Assistant Director: Jason Fesel
• Location Managers: David Velasco, Guy Efrat (New York Unit)
This is Mr. Russell’s second DGA Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category for The Fighter in 2010.
MARTIN SCORSESE FOR “THE WOLF OF WALL STREET”
Mr. Scorsese’s Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Manager: Richard Baratta
• First Assistant Director: Adam Somner
• Second Assistant Director: Francisco Oritz
• Second Second Assistant Director: Jeremy Marks
• Additional Second Assistant Director: Scott Koche
• Location Manager: Nils Widboom
This is Mr. Scorsese’s eleventh DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film in 2006 for The Departed, and has also been nominated in that category for Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004) and Hugo (2011). Mr. Scorsese also won the DGA Award in 2010 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Television for Boardwalk Empire and he was nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for George Harrison: Living in the Material World in 2011. In 1999, Mr. Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala, and he was honored with the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.