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Director’s Guild Noms

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Okay, here’s what I was expecting.

Martin Scorcese for Aviator
Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby
Alexander Payne for Sideways
Michael Gondry for Eternal Sunshine
Michael Mann for Collateral

Here’s what I got:

Martin Scorcese for Aviator

Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby
Alexander Payne for Sideways
Taylor Hackfor for Ray
Marc Forster for Finding Neverland

Well, the only real surprise here for me is the lack of Mann. I figured the Guild would follow in the footsteps of other groups that have awarded him top honors for validating digital video, and not in a High Def, Attack of the Clones kind of way. And though I don’t think the film necessarily had the best direction of the year, I kind of like the idea of rewarding him for doing so well with a relatively new technology.

Michael Gondry, was, admittedly, a pipe dream. For Eternal to get anything more than Original Screenplay (which it is almost sure to win) is, sadly, unlikely. Jim Carrey will probably not get the love for one of his best performances, and Gondry’s creativity will likewise go unheralded. At least Charlie Kaufman’s very likely to finally get his props here.

Now as far as their (in my world) replacements, Forster is a little bit of a surprise, given that he’s such a newcomer. Though he does have the previously nominated Monster’s Ball to his credit. Taylor Hackford? A little surprised. It’s not that he’s a bad director. Far from it. But, this isn’t exactly a director-y kind of film. It’s more a “holy-crap-look-how-talented-Jamie-Foxx-is” kind of flick. And as far as rewarding him for body of work, we’re talking about White Nights, The Devil’s Advocate, and Proof of Life here. We’re also talking about the underrated Dolores Clairborne and the 80’s classic An Officer and a Gentleman, his other guild nomination to date. But still.

What I think this is setting up, though, (since the Producer’s Guild didn’t see fit to give Ray a nom) is Hackford taking the director w/o a film nod this year. See, the Best Director and Best Picture categories rarely line up 100%. So there’s usually a “film that directed itself” (see Driving Miss Daisy, which nabbed Best Picture without so much as a nomination for director Bruce Beresford) and a director w/o a film (see Pedro Almodovar last year, who was nominated for Best Director without Talk to Her nabbing a Best Picture nod). Hackford will likely fall into the latter category.

Now as far as how well these will match up with the actual Best Director noms, usually at least three make it, and very often four. As far as how well the winner of this contest matches with the Best Director recipient, they’ve only missed six times since the guild started handing out awards in 1948. (The last time it happened, the Guild gave Spielberg the award for The Color Purple and the Academy handed it to Pollack for Out of Africa).

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