×

Damien Chazelle’s DGA Victory Solidifies ‘La La Land’s’ Date With Oscar

You can count on one hand the number of filmmakers that have won the Directors Guild award for feature filmmaking, yet lost the best director Oscar when nominated: Rob Marshall (“Chicago”), Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Francis Ford Coppola (“The Godfather”), Anthony Harvey (“The Lion in Winter”) and Robert Rossen* (“All the King’s Men”).

Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”) and Steven Spielberg (“The Color Purple”), meanwhile, share their own bizarre place in film awards history as guild winners that didn’t even secure a nomination from the Academy. But throughout the course of 68 years, 60 DGA winners have gone on to claim the Oscar.

So that’s some solid math in “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle’s favor. Already the youngest DGA winner in the category, he’s now poised to become the youngest best director Oscar winner as well.

Why is the DGA prize such a predictive precursor? Beats me. Maybe it has something to do with the DGA being a vast organization like the Academy, yielding similar, populist winners. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. Chazelle’s victory Saturday night only cemented what we already know, that his delightful modern movie musical has a date with destiny.

The wild card in the Oscar race this year is Mel Gibson, who picked up a nomination for “Hacksaw Ridge” from the Academy’s directors branch, while the guild opted for “Lion” helmer Garth Davis (who won the DGA’s first-time director honor). The other nominees overlapped with the Academy: Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”).

There isn’t much else to break down here, though. It’s all pretty well lined up. And now that song is stuck in my head again…

*Joseph L. Manckiewicz won the Oscar for “A Letter to Three Wives” over Rossen, but because the first and second annual DGA Awards used a non-calendar year, Manckiewicz and Rossen won the DGA prize in back-to-back years.

More Film

  • Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' Kicks

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' Kicks Off Tuesday With Solid $3.5 Million

    Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Annabelle Comes Home” collected a strong $3.5 million in Tuesday night previews. The supernatural thriller is expected to earn $30 million over its first five days in theaters. “Annabelle Comes Home” is the third “Annabelle” movie and seventh entry in the Conjuring franchise. Preview ticket sales are in line with [...]

  • Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour'

    Naomi Watts Thriller 'The Wolf Hour' Picked Up for U.S. by Brainstorm Media

    “The Wolf Hour,” a psychological thriller starring Naomi Watts and Jennifer Ehle, has been picked up for North America by Brainstorm Media. HanWay Films has also closed sales for a host of European and Asian territories. Directed by Alistair Banks Griffin, “The Wolf Hour” features Oscar-nominated Watts as June, a former countercultural celebrity who lives [...]

  • A Star Is Born

    'A Star Is Born' Soundtrack Surpasses Global Sales of 6 Million

    Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s onscreen chemistry continues to be felt on the official soundtrack to “A Star is Born,” which just surpassed 6 million albums sold globally and has been certified double platinum in the U.S. Released by Interscope Records in 2018, the album debuted atop the charts and remains the highest-selling album of [...]

  • monty-python-are-fifty-in-2019

    Previously Unreleased Monty Python Audio to Get Airing for Troupe's 50th Anniversary

    Michael Palin will exec-produce series of radio specials containing never-before-released audio from Monty Python as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the iconic comedy troupe. They will play on the BBC in the U.K. and then go out in the U.S. Palin and his fellow Pythons – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Huayi Brothers' Stock Falls 8% After 'The Eight Hundred' Cancellation

    Huayi Brothers’ stock fell by more than 8% on Wednesday, the day after the veteran Chinese studio announced that its new war epic, “The Eight Hundred,” will not hit Chinese theaters as scheduled next week. Shares dropped from RMB5.48 to RMB5.02 overnight after Huayi said Tuesday that its summer blockbuster’s theatrical debut would be indefinitely [...]

  • Chinese actor Xu Zheng holds his

    Golden Horse Organizers Set Clashing Date With China's Golden Rooster Awards

    The prestigious Golden Horse Awards announced Wednesday that it will hold its annual ceremony in Taiwan on the same day this year as China’s Communist-backed Golden Rooster Awards – which virtually assures that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the event known as Asia’s Oscars on November 23. Hong Kong director Johnnie To will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content