Awards Watch: DGA & BAFTA Nominations Favor Affleck, Spielberg & Bigelow, Snubs Russell

It’s been a huge day for filmmakers looking to lead the pack in the Oscar race. In the last twenty-four hours the DGA’s were announced, and as always there were a few casualty directors snubbed by the Director’s Guild. While Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were among the names read out for their achievements for their films, Silver Linings Playbook’s David O. Russell and Django Unchained’s Quentin Tarantino missed out on nominations from the guild.

It wasn’t that big of a surprise to see David O. Russell and Quentin Tarantino off the list. While they did produce great work this year, Russell failed to receive much attention from the Golden Globes, with Silver Linings not cutting it for Best Picture or the Best Director category. It’s worth noting that Russell failed to earn a BAFTA nomination as well, so it doesn’t look that promising for a win, but certainly a nomination. While Tarantino did make the cut for the Globes, his cast didn’t earn attention from the Screen Actors Guild, and Tarantino didn’t win big from the Satellite Awards. The honor went mostly to Russell who back then was seen as the leader of the pack.

The one surprise of the DGA nominations, who was also on the cusp of making it in the pack is Ang Lee who skated in there with Life of Pi. The film had an early release but even so, Affleck’s September release with Argo has proved to pick up a bit of steam in its campaign despite this fact. Lee’s Life of Pi has failed to really get to that pivotal part of their campaign for Oscar glory.

The only newcomer to the DGA list is Affleck, as all the other directors have been nominated for their previous work. If anything it shows that Affleck is earning yet another stripe for his directorial efforts. In addition, it looks like Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Affleck (Argo), Hooper (Les Miserables), and Lee (Life of Pi) all have huge competition ahead of them for the Director’s Guild Awards. There seems to be one clear horse at the lead with these batch of nominations, and that’s Spielberg’s Lincoln, who was also nominated for a record breaking eleventh time. If history is on his side, he might take this one from the pack of talented directors and walk away with his fourth DGA award.

The BAFTAs as we reported did show some favor to Skyfall, but not nearly as enough as they did with Lincoln, which picked up 10 nominations. In the case of Skyfall we’re pretty sure we can substitute Ang Lee’s Life of Pi to take its place in the nominations for the Academy Awards, and that’s even with a bloated nomination list for the Best Picture category.

In probably the oddest twist yet come award season went to the BAFTAs for its Best Director category. Although Steven Spielberg saw his film triumph in nominations, he was left off the list for Best Director. Instead, they favored Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Haneke (Amour), and Ang Lee.

While this may be the push Argo needs come Oscar night, I wouldn’t discount Spielberg from being the victor of the night, with Bigelow earning her second Oscar for Best Directing.

Only time will tell.

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