Awards Season 2018: DGA Awards - Here's Why Greta Gerwig Will Win The DGA Award - PopcornReel.com

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Friday, January 12, 2018

AWARDS SEASON 2018: THE DIRECTORS' GUILD OF AMERICA AWARDS
Why Greta Gerwig Will Win DGA's Best Director Award



Greta Gerwig, writer and director of the film "Lady Bird". 
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by
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Friday, January 12, 2018

Yesterday Greta Gerwig became the eighth woman in 70 years to be nominated for a DGA feature film directing award.  (Kathryn Bigelow has been nominated twice.)  Ms. Gerwig's "Lady Bird" is a superbly directed film with a distinct voice.  Mature, confident and centered, her film about a teenager's relationship with her mother is one of the best, most honest and distinctly personal films in the coming-of-age genre. 

For those attributes alone Ms. Gerwig should expect some goodwill from the DGA.

"Lady Bird" is unique, warm and melodic.  The film, with its not quite full-on sunny atmosphere, possesses jagged edged truths about life and people who live it.  "Lady Bird" features a protagonist (Saoirse Ronan in the title role) who is an energetic, adventurous and compassionate soul from Sacramento, California who wants to go to college on the East Coast to fly out from under her mother's wing. 

So what of Ms. Gerwig's chances of becoming just the second woman ever to win the feature film directing award in 70 years of DGA Awards history?

Her chances are excellent.

Ms. Gerwig and four men -- three of whom like herself are first-time nominees -- will find out on February 3 which of them will be in pole position for a Best Director Oscar win.  It is highly likely that she, Guillermo Del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Jordan Peele and Christopher Nolan will all be nominated for Best Director Oscars on January 23.

What helps Ms. Gerwig's chances immensely, aside from the obvious talent and excellence of her film (number seven on my list of ten best films of 2017) is that she, unlike Mr. Peele, was not nominated for outstanding first-time feature film director.  Both are first-time feature directors.  (A caveat here, though, for Ms. Gerwig co-directed a film called "Hannah Takes The Stairs" but Joe Swanberg is the outright credited director on the film.) 

The omission of Ms. Gerwig from the first-time category coupled with Mr. Peele's double-nomination seems to signal that Mr. Peele, who directed "Get Out", will win the DGA first-time feature director award. 

Which leaves Ms. Gerwig strongly in line to win Best Director. 

While either Mr. Del Toro or Mr. Peele could upset that apple cart as Ms. Gerwig's main contenders on February 3 (I cast Mr. McDonagh as the long shot of the category), there is one key consideration.  The additional variable that may swing the DGA Award Ms. Gerwig's way is a political one. 

Film awards never occur within the context of a non-political environment.  Nothing does.  The last three months have seen copious news stories of male film directors abusing their immense power by violating many women they work with.  News about Brett Ratner, Roman Polanski, Bryan Singer, Woody Allen and two-time feature film directors Kevin Spacey and James Franco among others has forced accountability of powerful men thanks to steadfast and unwavering women's movements like the #MeToo movement.

These political currents will play a role, and last October Thomas Schlamme, the DGA president, issued a robust and unequivocal statement about the need for male directors and the DGA organization to take a long look in the mirror at themselves.  Given the news and its own poor record of awarding women in the feature film directing category, the DGA will want to make a strong statement.  Awarding Ms. Gerwig the DGA Award on this additional basis would make sense and would not be inconceivable.

Above all though, Ms. Gerwig's direction of "Lady Bird" boasts the type of seamlessness and quality meriting the director the award. 

Lately though, Ms. Gerwig hasn't had a smooth awards season ride.  After the Golden Globes on Sunday night the Sacramento filmmaker caught some flak on social media. 

Ms. Gerwig did not give a definitive answer to a question asked backstage after her film's dual wins for Best Picture Comedy/Musical and Best Actress.  (Ms. Gerwig was not nominated for Best Director by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.)  Asked if she regretted working with Woody Allen, long accused of seducing his stepdaughter (whom he later married) and molesting daughter Dylan Farrow in the 1970s, Ms. Gerwig balked, saying she hadn't had sufficient time to give Mr. Allen and her time working with him any thought.

On Tuesday however, Ms. Gerwig committed a clear, unequivocal answer in a statement to The New York Times during an interview in which she said that she would never work with Mr. Allen again.

With all that said, the DGA has a mission to fulfill and I don't believe that Ms. Gerwig's renouncing of Mr. Allen will hurt her cause.  I think the DGA will swing a big night Ms. Gerwig's way next month ,and it will be overwhelmingly because of her fine direction of "Lady Bird".


Related: Greta Gerwig joins four male finalists for the DGA Best Feature Film Direction Award


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