THE (OTHER) GUILDS HAVE SPOKEN
Nine days into the new year, and we finally have the nominees for all of the Guild categories. I've already spoken at length about the Screen Actors Guild nominations, but here we'll discuss the Writer's, Director's, and Producer's Guild. Let's jump right in with some analysis.
PRODUCERS GUILD NOMINATIONS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
If we're talking in terms of all the websites and TV shows that have been predicting a Best Picture line-up, this short list is spot-on. As you know, I think there will be a little more "animated" Best Picture list. That being said, it's seeming more and more likely that this hackneyed group of films will end up being the ones announced on Oscar nomination morning. I was hoping that the Producers Guild would cause a little stir, perhaps nominate Doubt, The Wrestler, or WALL-E, but this is certainly the most conventional five that they could come up with.
WRITERS GUILD NOMINATIONS
Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Dustin Lance Black, MILK
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, BURN AFTER READING
Tom McCarthy, THE VISITOR
Robert Siegal, THE WRESTLER
Best Adapted Screenplay
Simon Beaufoy, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Peter Morgan, FROST/NIXON
Jonathan Nolan, Chris Nolan, & David S. Goyer, THE DARK KNIGHT
Eric Roth & Robin Swicord, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
John Patrick Shanley, DOUBT
At least these guys mixed it up a little bit. In the original half, we have the emergence of Woody Allen, who despite being the most nominated screenwriter in Oscar history, was getting little to no traction for his Vicky Cristina Barcelona script; and the Coen Brothers get their first real notice for their Burn After Reading screenplay. These two surprises caused Jenny Lumet's Rachel Getting Married script to get bumped out, as well as Courtney Hunt for Frozen River. This could spell doom for the little indie films, though either can be swapped for Tom McCarthy's The Visitor script (Oscar rarely nominates TWO indies in the same category). As for adapted, the only thing these nominations do is lessen the chances for Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) and David Hare (The Reader).
DIRECTORS GUILD NOMINATIONS
Danny Boyle, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
David Fincher, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Ron Howard, FROST/NIXON
Christopher Nolan, THE DARK KNIGHT
Gus Van Sant, MILK
The DGA noms are usually the closest thing we can come to a Best Picture preview, as they consistently match the Oscar shortlist. I stand strong by my conviction that the lack of any real commercial success for Frost/Nixon will hurt it come Oscar time, but I'm looking stupider and stupider by the moment with that prediction. If this list does anything, it pretty much hammers the point home that films like WALL-E or Rachel Getting Married have seemingly no chance at crashing the high-brow party come Oscar time. It's not enough that 2008 was a pretty underachieving year as far as films go, but the monotony of the awards season has made it flat boring as well.
<---- I predict this will be Jonathan Demme's (Rachel Getting Married director) pissed, though not surprised face when he gets screwed over by Academy convention.