The Director’s Guild has announced its Best Director nominations, which are usually a harbinger of the Oscar nominations in the same category. Reason: Members of the Directors Branch of the Academy are a subset of Guild members. (The DGA also includes below-the-line personnel like First AD’s as well as numerous directors who are not in the Academy).
Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby”), Martin Scorsese (“Aviator”), Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), Taylor Hackford (“Ray”) and Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”) are nominated. Eastwood should win relatively easily, not just because he is the sentimental favorite but because he also did the best work — a happy symmetry for once. I might have considered voting for Brad Bird, director of “The Incredibles,” almost certain to be the most remembered movie of 2004 ten years from now. [How can you be sure of that?–ed. Trust me.] But the Academy and the DGA famously do not smile on animated movies for Best Picture or Director. Given the way technology is evolving, in the future that will seem quaint.