A look inside the Directors Guild Awards

On Saturday five of the best directors in film will gather together for an evening of recognition. Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino. At this stage in the game it’s safe to say that these five directors will receive multiple Oscar nominations for their respective films, but on January 30th the focus is all on them.

In all honesty, this is the most exciting Directors Guild nominee list I’ve seen in recent years. For starters, you have the incredible Kathryn Bigelow  who is only the 7th woman to be nominated for this award, and has a real shot at being the first woman to receive this award. And then you have Lee Daniels, the first African American to ever be nominated for this award. It’s a revolution that I wish was televised.

Five very different directors nominated for five very different films.

For those of you wondering what the heck the Directors Guild Awards are, think SAG awards minus the actors. Hollywood is a union town and just like the actors honored their own last weekend, this weekend the directors will do the same.

In preparation of the Directors Guild Awards, The Real Reel has decided to list each director in order of who has the best chance of winning the coveted DGA award.  One cool thing about the DGA awards is that each nominee receives a silver plated award to commemorate their nomination while the winner receives a gold plated award.  So essentially everyone is a winner.

Here’s our list starting from most likely to win to least likely to win:

Kathryn Bigelow

For the unfamiliar Kathryn Bigelow has been making films for a long time.  She  first broke onto the scene in 1982 with ‘The Loveless’ starring Willem Defoe but it wasn’t until her surfer thriller ‘Point Break’ starring the late Patrick Swayze, that people really began to take notice.  With 9 feature films under her belt, one of those written by James Cameron;  in 2008 she completed her masterpiece, “The Hurt Locker.”  It was her first film since 2002 and it was definitely worth the wait.

By now its no  secret that Bigelow is The Real Reel’s director pick this awards season. She’s in a league of her own amongst men and ‘The Hurt Locker’ is just good. Damn good. If she were to win this award, she would be the first woman to do so and quite frankly her chances are pretty high.  Already Bigelow has won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Director, received an honorary tribute  at last years Gotham Awards and has received numerous Best director awards and nominations in various critical circles.

The bottom-line: The Real Reel is pulling for Kathryn to finish out this award season strong.  If she wins this award then she is a definite for a little gold man.

Quentin Tarantino

Ah Quentin. In an industry where everyone walks around trying to spare feelings, Quentin is the guy that just doesn’t give a damn. And I love him for it.

I’ve never seen a Tarantino film that wasn’t epic but ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is without a doubt his tour de force.   Someone described ‘Pulp Fiction’ as the movie that redefined a genre; ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is  the movie that redefined Quentin Tarantino.

In every scene you witnessed Tarantino’s growth as a writer, director and as an individual.  Without a shadow of a doubt,  his best film to date. It’s his first time in 15 years appearing at the DGA awards and the honor is long awaited and well deserved.

The bottom-line: How can you not love and root for Quentin? If Kathryn doesn’t win,  then he is right behind her in claiming this award.

James Cameron

The Terminator.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

A little known film called Titanic.

And a lesser known film by the name of ‘Avatar.’  Insert sarcasm here.

This in a nutshell is James Cameron’s resume. He is the writer and director of some of the biggest films of all time, two of which are the highest grossing films ever.

Whether you loved or hated ‘Avatar’, you can’t deny that it was nothing short of cinematic brilliance.  The running joke is that since no other film could beat ‘Titanic’,  James Cameron decided to do it himself with ‘Avatar.’ Mission accomplished.

A previous winner of the DGA award Cameron has put himself back into the game with ‘Avatar.’ A vision that took over ten years and breakthrough technology to fulfill, Cameron is  right behind Tarantino to win this award.  Recently he was named Best Director at the Golden Globe awards which came as a shock to him and everyone else in the room. But nevertheless we respect his vision and the fact that he has changed the face of cinema as we know it.

The bottom-line: Although ‘Avatar’ isn’t my favorite Cameron film, the numbers speak for itself and I’m sure that doesn’t go unnoticed by the voters.

Lee Daniels

With only 2 feature films under his belt, ‘Shadowboxer’ and ‘Precious;’ Lee Daniels is the new kid on the directors guild block. But don’t be confused, Daniels has produced a slew of hit films such as ‘Monsters Ball’ and ‘The Woodsman.’   And of course one of those films received an Academy Award for Best Actress Halle Berry.

However it is with the success of his latest film ‘Precious’ that has him one step closer to a coveted Oscar nomination.  It’s hard to believe that approximately one year ago, ‘Precious’ didn’t even have a distributor. But thanks to Tyler Perry, Oprah and Lionsgate, Daniels little film that could became the little film that did.

On the heels of numerous award wins in the supporting category for Mo’Nique and numerous nominations for the previously unknown Gabourey Sidibe, its safe to say that its Daniel’s direction and vision that deserve most of the credit.

The bottom-line: He may not be a front runner for this award but its great to see him invited to the party.

Jason Reitman

Personally I really enjoy all of Jason’s films. He is the type of screenwriter that I aspire to be and for him to be included among such powerhouse directors, its  an honor in itself.

Rarely do we see a Hollywood kid gone good but Reitman is definitely the exception.  And to top it off,  at the ripe age of 33 he is achieving a fete that his father never accomplished in his career, a DGA award nomination.

‘Up in the Air’ is definetly his best film to date but at his age I’m sure there is more where that came from.

The bottom-line:  For Reitman, it really is just an honor to be nominated.



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