Alfonso Cuaron took home top honors at last night’s Directors Guild Award for his science-fiction tale of survival Gravity. Cuaron beat out fellow directors Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf Of Wall Street).
The win, along with it tying for Best Film at last weekend‘s Prodocers Guild Awards, seems to position Gravity for the top prize at March’s Academy Awards, as the DGA and the PGA awards are often seen as predictors who will win their respective Oscar categories. Only seven times in the award’s 65-year history has the winner of the DGA not gone on to win the Best Director Oscar and only 13 times have the winning film at the DGAs gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar.
But some Oscar prognosticators are saying that there is still an outside chance that either 12 Years A Slave or American Hustle could still win in an upset. Gravity and 12 Years A Slave were not nominated in next weekend’s Screenwriters Guild Awards – 12 Years A Slave was ineligible due to a rule in the Guild’s bylaws – and American Hustle could pickup some much needed awards buzz with a win there.
It is perhaps worth remembering that Cuaron had a difficult time getting Gravity into production. The film was originally set up at Universal, but the studio put it into turnaround after original star Angelina Jolie dropped out. Finding at home at Warner Brothers, Cuaron found the project in danger a second time over casting when Robert Downey Jr. dropped out of the project while Cuaron continued to hunt for a lead with Natalie Portman was one of many contenders for the role that Sandra Bullock finally one.