Directors Guild of America Final Predictions

"Boyhood" Los Angeles Special Screening - Arrivals
On Saturday evening, the Directors Guild of America will announce their big winner, hopefully doing their part to clear up this Oscar race. Actually, there stands a pretty good chance that DGA could only muddle the field further, but hopefully that won’t be the case. Once again, we’re looking at a guild battle between Birdman and Boyhood, as Alejandro González Iñárritu does battle with Richard Linklater. The former has seen his film do quite well with this stage of the precursors, potentially even jumping ahead of the latter in the Best Picture and Best Director race with the Academy Awards. Picture is close to a tie, but the day after tomorrow we’ll have a frontrunner in Director.

The DGA battle will be between obviously the aforementioned Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman and Richard Linklater for Boyhood, but also Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Clint Eastwood for American Sniper, and Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game. That represents four of the five nominees at the Oscars, with only Eastwood missing out there, in favor of Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher. I suspect that Anderson is the least likely of this bunch to win, so for right now, let’s cross him out. That leaves either Eastwood or Tyldum hoping to upend the frontrunners. Can either shock the Oscar pundit world and do it? In short…it’s not likely.

If you really want to look for a surprise winner, I think it’s more likely to be Eastwood than Tyldum, even though the latter is a trendy number three choice for many. My reasoning for backing the former as the long shot spoiler? This is the club that really favors who you know, the DGA. Among the nominees, who has a wider circle of admirers than Eastwood? It doesn’t speak to the quality of the work, of course, but if voters are looking to slap a colleague on the back, they certainly can do it here. It’ll realistically come down to either Iñárritu or Linklater, but if neither of those two emerge victorious, it will work in Eastwood’s favor.

Now, the main event…Iñárritu vs Linklater. All season long I’ve been predicting wins for Boyhood, and up until the guilds I’d been spot on. Then, the Producers Guild of America (or PGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (or SAG) chimed in and went with Birdman instead, throwing the races into chaos. Now, DGA sees an opportunity to either continue the turn towards Iñárritu’s Birdman or move things back towards Linklater’s Boyhood. It’ll really come down to whether the flashier work onscreen or the grander directorial vision wins out. If voters here just focus on the visual grandeur, that works in the favor of Iñárritu. If DGA, unlike PGA, recognizes the X factor addition of how exactly Boyhood was made, that will be a boon towards Linklater. It’s almost impossible to know right now which filmmaker will win out, but it’s clearly one of the closest DGA races in memory.

Simply put, the top prize from the Directors Guild of America will go a long way towards showing us who’s in the driver’s seat for Best Director at the Oscars, if not the Best Picture prize as well. To summarize: if Eastwood somehow wins, we have utter chaos. If Anderson or Tyldum win, we have chaos as well, but slightly more organized chaos. If Iñárritu wins, Birdman will have all but swept the guilds and will be the new frontrunner. If Linklater wins, Boyhood will have a big victory in the closing days of the race and will reaffirm itself as potentially the one to beat. One of those narratives is going to play out in about 36 hours, so sit tight…

Predicted winner: Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Stay tuned to see which director wins out on Saturday night!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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