The Revenant Alejandro G. Iñárritu picked up his second Directors Guild Award last night, pushing that film into a three-way race with Spotlight and The Big Short for the top prize at the Academy Awards later this month. Iñárritu also won a DGA last year for his film Birdman.
Although not a direct predictor of the winner of the Best Picture Oscar, the Directors Guild Award often serves as an indicator as to whom will take home the Best Director trophy. In the 67 year history of the DGAs, only 8 winners have not gone on to win Best Director at the Academy Awards and very often the Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards go towards the same film.
However, it was the financial crisis dark comedy The Big Short that picked up the Producers Guild Award last month, an award that has served as a precursor to winning the Best Picture Oscar with a lesser frequency than the DGA-to-Best-Director-to-Best-Picture path has. Nineteen out of the last 26 films to have won the Best Picture Oscar have first taken the award from the Producer’s Guild.
Although unusual, it is possible that the two films could split the Academy Awards this year with one taking the director prize and one taking the picture prize. The last time that happened was in 2012 when Argo won Best Picture but director Ben Affleck was not even nominated for the Best Director Oscar. He was nominated for and did win a Directors Guild Award, though.
Iñárritu’s win also pushes the Tom McCarthy drama Spotlight into third position in the Best Picture race. Last week the film picked up Best Ensemble cast at the Screen Actors Guild awards, an honor that has preceded a Best Picture Oscar win only fifty percent of the time.
Ex-Machina director Alex Garland was awarded the Guild’s Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director award for his film that explored identity and artificial intelligence. Matthew Heineman’s Cartel Land took home the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary.