Tue. Sep 22nd, 2020

Directors Guild (DGA), Cinematographers society (ASC), Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Preview and Predictions

Saturday, January 25th will hold no less than five guild or industry awards ceremonies thanks to the shortened Oscar season (including the Annies and the USC Scripter) and here I’ll detail my preview and predictions for the Directors Guild (DGA), American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and the Cinema Audio Society (CAS).

With the Producers Guild (PGA) going for 1917 and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) going for Parasite we’re on deck for a real horse race this season as we careen around the corner to the Academy Awards on February 9th. The BAFTAs reveal the week before but their track record this decade, thanks to Oscar’s preferential ballot, has been spotty at best.

The DGA however, is as solid a predictor for who will win the Best Director Oscar as it gets. Were it not for Ben Affleck’s shocking snub for 2012’s Argo, the DGA to Oscar matchup would be 100% for this decade so far. 66% of the time we saw DGA, BAFTA and Oscar all align although, only three times did the DGA-winning director helm Oscar’s Best Picture (Hazanavicius, Affleck and de Toro – see chart below).

This year is a fight between Sam Mendes (1917) for his second win (and his first in 20 years after 1999’s American Beauty) and Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) for his first. The late-breaking 1917 has already defied quite a bit of history to become a frontrunner as a Christmas Day limited release with no festival run but Mendes won the Golden Globe and tied with Bong at Critics’ Choice. But those aren’t industry. They can sometime set the pace (or roll with it, as the CCA tries to do) but the Directors Guild (and BAFTA next week) will tell us where the wind is blowing. Does a Bong win here foretell a Best Picture win in two weeks? It might but I it’s hard to think that the DGA (and the Oscars) won’t be dazzled by the difficulty level of 1917 and if this last decade of director winners proves anything it’s that risky, wild and over the top directorial achievements are what gets you the gold.

The First-Time Feature Director nominees, unlike the all-boys club of the main award, has three female nominees yet, like the directing prize at the Spirit Awards last year, it feels like it will still likely to go a man. Olivia Wilde (Booksmart) was weirdly snubbed here despite earning the most critics’ citations for a first film/first-time director. But Joe Talbot (The Last Black Man in San Francisco) was close behind. Alma Ha’rel (Honey Boy) has probably pressed more flesh than anyone in this category so she’s a distinct possibility as a winner.

2010Tom Hooper, The King’s SpeechDavid Fincher, The Social NetworkTom Hooper, The King’s Speech**
2011Michel Hazanavicius, The ArtistMichel Hazanavicius, The Artist**Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist**
2012Ben Affleck, Argo*Ben Affleck, Argo**Ang Lee, Life of Pi
2013Alfonso Cuarón, GravityAlfonso Cuarón, GravityAlfonso Cuarón, Gravity
2014Alejandro G. Iñárritu, BirdmanRichard Linklater, Boyhood**Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman**
2015Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The RevenantAlejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant**Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
2016Damien Chazelle, La La LandDamien Chazelle, La La Land**Damien Chazelle, La La Land
2017Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of WaterGuillermo del Toro, The Shape of WaterGuillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water**
2018Alfonso Cuarón, RomaAlfonso Cuarón, Roma**Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

*not Oscar-nominated **also won Best Picture/Film

The 2019 Directors Guild of America (DGA) nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film are:

  • Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
  • Sam Mendes, 1917
  • Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

My prediction: Sam Mendes, 1917 with a good chance for Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

The 2019 Directors Guild of America (DGA) nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director are:

  • Mati Diop, Atlantics
  • Alma Har’el, Honey Boy
  • Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
  • Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon

My prediction: Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco with Alma Har’el, Honey Boy as a possible spoiler.


In this decade, the every winner of the cinematography Oscar was at least nominated for the ASC first, five have won. That essentially eliminates The Lighthouse‘s chances. Blade Runner 2049 will remain the only cinematography Oscar winner to not come from a Best Picture nominee. Emmanuel Lubezki’s record-setting three-year winning streak ran through ASC, BAFTA and Oscar; a feat I can’t imagine happening any time soon. In Roger Deakins’ Oscar-winning year, he also ran the table Blade Runner 2049. It’s unlikely we’ll have a year like 2011 where the prize went to three different cinematographers across ASC, BAFTA and Oscar.

Roger Deakins (1917) will close out the decade with his third DGA win on his way to his second Oscar. Seven of ten years of ASC will be shared by just two people. When they like you here, they really like you.

2010Wally Pfister, InceptionRoger Deakins, True GritWally Pfister, Inception
2011Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of LifeGuillaume Shiffman, The ArtistRobert Richardson, Hugo
2012Roger Deakins, SkyfallClaudio Miranda, Life of PiClaudio Miranda, Life of Pi
2013Emmanuel Lubezki, GravityEmmanuel Lubezki, GravityEmmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
2014Emmanuel Lubezki, BirdmanEmmanuel Lubezki, BirdmanEmmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
2015Emmanuel Lubezki, The RevenantEmmanuel Lubezki, The RevenantEmmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
2016Greig Fraser, LionLinus Sandgren, La La LandLinus Sandgren, La La Land
2017Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
2018Łukasz Żal, Cold WarAlfonso Cuarón, RomaAlfonso Cuarón, Roma

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nominees are:

  • Roger Deakins, 1917
  • Phedon Papamichael, Ford v Ferrari
  • Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
  • Lawrence Sher, Joker
  • Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

My prediction: Roger Deakins, 1917 (no spoiler).


Only one time this decade has a non-CAS nominee gone on to with the Sound Mixing Oscar (2014’s Whiplash). This year, 1917 missed CAS but is still the frontrunner for the Oscar. Since BAFTA has a single sound category that encompasses both sound mixing and sound editing, it is not included in the side-by-side comparisons.

Vroom vroom, bitches. This should be Ford v Ferrari‘s to lose, which could give it enough gas going into Oscar voting to also translate that to a sound mixing win. The musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody won here and at the Oscars but this year’s version, Rocketman, got in at CAS but was Oscar-snubbed. Joker and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are the only possible spoilers.

2010True GritInception
2012Les MisérablesLes Misérables
2015The RevenantMad Max: Fury Road
2016La La LandHacksaw Ridge
2018Bohemian RhapsodyBohemian Rhapsody

*not CAS-nominated

The 2019 Cinema Audio Society (CAS) nominees are:

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Rocketman

My prediction: Ford v Ferrari with a chance of a Joker spoiler.

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