Will validation-seeking Christopher Nolan fans finally get their wish?
This morning's announcement of the five nominees for the Directors Guild of America's top movie prize is not something the average film fan would normally pay much attention to.
But the legions of Christopher Nolan supporters out there salivating for the director's first Oscar nomination -- and eagerly hoping for a chance to see their man stand up at the most-watched film event of the year -- could only be reassured by the announcement. As our sister blog Awards Tracker notes, the list of nominees for the group's outstanding achievement in feature film prize include the "Inception" man, as well as the directors of "The King's Speech," "The Social Network, "Black Swan" and "The Fighter."
Nolanites have reason to feel good. The DGA is about an accurate a predictor of the best director category at the Academy Awards as you can get: It's foretold at least four of the five Oscar nominees in all but two of the past 12 years.
That would seem like great news for those hoping to see "Inception" get some attention in front of the approximately 40 million U.S. television viewers (and many more around the world) at the end of February. To date, Nolan's movies have been nominated mostly in technical categories, and he was nominated once as a screenwriter (for "Memento"), but he has never landed a prized best-director slot, a source of irritation for his many fans. This year, the DGA nomination suggests, could be different.
Except for one problem: One of the rare Oscar names the DGA has not predicted in the past has been ... Christopher Nolan. It happened on two occasions. The director was nominated by the DGA for both "The Dark Knight" and "Memento." But when it came time for the Oscars, the academy decided to use that slot for someone else.
As an original work with its own mythology, "Inception" could stand a better shot with some Oscar voters than the superhero-based "Dark Knight." But the DGAs alone might not predict that.
Meanwhile, fans of Joel and Ethan Coen, whose "True Grit" wasn't nominated by the DGA, might want to reassure themselves in the other direction: That fifth slot is up for grabs, and the directors could still push out someone else when it comes time for the Oscars.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Christopher Nolan at the London premiere of "Inception." Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
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