“And here are the all male nominees,” is how Natalie Portman pointedly chose to introduce the total sausage party of a Best Director lineup at this Sunday’s Golden Globes. It was one of the most memorable moments of an evening whose unofficial theme was Hollywood’s ongoing reckoning with its legacy of sexism, abuse, and gender inequality. The most conspicuous absence from the category was Greta Gerwig, whose superb coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird was a critical and commercial smash (and scored a bunch of other nominations besides). Certainly, her inclusion would have made more sense than Ridley Scott, whose work on the mediocre (albeit speedily reworked) All The Money In The World somehow made the cut, edging out other viable, potential nominees, like Dee Rees (Mudbound), Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), and Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman).
Gerwig, blessedly, is among the five filmmakers singled out by the Director’s Guild Of America, which just announced its nominees earlier today. The one-time mumblecore mainstay is, admittedly, the only female director in the lineup, which also includes Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water, Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Jordan Peele for Get Out, and Martin McDonaugh for the divisive love-hate lightning rod of the season, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Technically, that’s no better than last year, when the only woman nominated was in the First-Feature category. Nonetheless, this is a more diverse field than usual; the inclusion of Peele, whose only the fourth black director ever to nab a nod, and the Mexican genre visionary Del Toro, makes this the first time ever that white men don’t make up the majority of the DGA lineup.
There’s a lot of overlap in membership between the 17,000-deep Director’s Guild and the Directing branch of the Academy, which explains why the DGAs remain one of the most reliable indicators of what will be nominated and what could emerge victorious at the Oscars. All but seven of the DGA winners announced since 1948 have gone on to win the Academy Award, and the lineups often correspond, too. That’s good news for all the nominated filmmakers, and also for their movies, which are solidifying themselves as the leaders of this award-season pack. Were the Academy to suddenly revert back to a five-film Best Picture slate, little doubt remains that the five would be Lady Bird, Get Out, Dunkirk, The Shape Of Water, and Three Billboards.
The Director’s Guild also announced its nominations for Best First-Time Feature Film Director, where Peele will compete against—which is to say, given that he also made the Varsity cut, probably demolish—Geremy Jasper (Patti Cake$), William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth), Taylor Sheridan (Wind River), and Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game). The winners of both awards (as well as the corresponding prizes for television directors—as though anyone really directs TV, yuk yuk yuk) will be announced at a ceremony on February 3. Meanwhile, you’ll have wait until January 23 to find out if Gerwig can add “Oscar nominee” to her already impressive resume, or if the Academy gives her spot to Joe Wright or some bullshit.