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Directors Guild of America Gives Argo and Ben Affleck a Boost

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Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced their nominees for best director Tuesday.

The news? Ben Affleck is in for Argo, while David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) and Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) are out.

The other directors who made the cut are Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Tom Hooper (Les Misérables), and Ang Lee (The Life of Pi).

The DGA is very important, because they have a great track record in predicting the Best Director Oscar.

The DGA Awards began in 1948, and only six times in their history has the feature film winner not gone on to win the Academy Award. The last two times their choices didn’t dovetail with the Academy’s picks was back in 2000 — when Ang Lee won the DGA Award for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Steven Soderbergh went on to win the Academy Award for Traffic.

It happened again in 2002 when Rob Marshall was the DGA’s pick for Chicago and Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist.

Spielberg has received an astounding 11 nominations by the DGA.

The winner will be named at the 65th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Here are the nominees in alphabetical order:

BEN AFFLECK – Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Mr. Affleck’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager:  Amy Herman
  • First Assistant Director:  David Webb
  • Second Assistant Director:  Ian Calip
  • Second Second Assistant Directors: Clark Credle, Gavin Kleintop
  • First Assistant Director (Turkey Unit): Belkis Turan

This is Mr. Affleck’s first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.

KATHRYN BIGELOW – Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia Pictures)

Ms. Bigelow’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager:  Colin Wilson
  • First Assistant Director:  David A. Ticotin
  • Second Assistant Directors:  Ben Lanning, Sarah Hood
  • First Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Scott Robertson
  • Second Assistant Directors (Jordan Unit): Jonas Spaccarotelli, Yanal Kassay
  • Second Second Assistant Director (Jordan Unit): Tarek Afifi
  • Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Rajeev Mehra

This is Ms. Bigelow’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

TOM HOOPER – Les Misérables (Universal Pictures)

Mr. Hooper’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager:  Patrick Schweitzer
  • First Assistant Director:  Ben Howarth
  • Second Assistant Director:  Harriet Worth
  • Second Second Assistant Director: Dan Channing Williams

This is Mr. Hooper’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The King’s Speech (2010) and was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Mini-Series for John Adams in 2008.

ANG LEE – Life of Pi (Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Lee’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager:  Michael J. Malone
  • Unit Production Manager (Taiwan): Leo Chen
  • First Assistant Directors:  William M. Connor, Cliff Lanning
  • Second Assistant Directors:  Robert Burgess, Ben Lanning
  • Unit Production Manager (India Unit): Sanjay Kumar
  • First Assistant Director (India Unit): Nitya Mehra
  • Second Assistant Director (India Unit): Ananya Rane
  • Second Second Assistant Directors (India Unit): Namra Parikh, Freya Parekh
  • Second Assistant Directors (Montreal Unit): Derek Wimble, Renato De Cotiis

This is Mr. Lee’s fourth DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and was nominated for Sense and Sensibility in 1995.

STEVEN SPIELBERG – Lincoln (DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Spielberg’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager:  Susan McNamara
  • First Assistant Director:  Adam Somner
  • Second Assistant Director:  Ian Stone
  • Second Second Assistant Directors: Eric Lasko, Trevor Tavares

This is Mr. Spielberg’s eleventh DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film three times for Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993) and The Color Purple (1985).

He was also nominated in this category for Munich (2005), Amistad (1997), Empire of the Sun (1987), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Jaws (1975).  Mr. Spielberg was honored with the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Paula Schwartz

Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411.com, More.com and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

Paula Schwartz has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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