- The Academy Award ‘Precursors’ are second tier awards from Critics Groups and Professional Guilds.
- Hollywood observers follow ‘Precursor’ results trying to predict the Academy Award winners.
- The Directors Guild Award Winners will be announced on Saturday, January 25 2020 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.
We’re in the midst of ‘award season’ as the film industry and media that covers it prepares for the 92nd Academy Awards to be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. That will be the ‘main event’ but before that takes place there will be a number of lower profile preliminary awards known as ‘the precursors’. The Cinema Sight website gives a succinct explanation of what the precursors are:
The Academy Awards is one of the few major prizes that has generated more than its fair share of preliminary contests, frequently known as precursors. These precursors sometimes influence, sometimes prognosticate and sometimes go their own way. Below are the precursor awards that precede the Academy Awards.
There are three groups that are highlighted here. Industry Guilds, other Organizations and Critics. As an added bonus, I’ve created a separate page that shows when each group started handing out awards. The list will be sorted alphabetically by group, chronologically by group and chronologically in comparison. Some of these even pre-date the Oscars if you can believe it.
Another website, Awards Circuit, has section devoted to coverage of the various precursor awards that is well worth bookmarking if you’re looking to handicap the Academy Awards:
The Academy Awards competition season began way back in early December with four critics awards–the Gotham Awards, the National Board of Review Awards, the New York Film Critics’ Circle and AFI. Generally speaking, the later the precursor awards are held the more significant they are. In January, the major event early in the month is the Golden Globe Awards given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The upcoming group of awards is particularly significant since they’re primarily the professional guilds. Unlike the critics and media, the professional guilds actually have voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that determine the nominees and winners of the Oscars.
THE 72ND DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA (DGA) AWARDS
As the name suggests, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) is a labor organization that represents professional directors and members of the directorial team. It was founded in 1936 and now has a membership of over 18,000 which includes directors, assistant directors, unit production managers, associate directors, stage managers and production associates. Unlike some film industry organizations that bend over backwards to protect the ‘sanctity’ of motion pictures the DGA has a history of being inclusive to professionals in a variety of fields. The organization was founded as the Screen Directors Guild in 1936 and merged with the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960.
So how significant are the DGA Awards in predicting the Academy Awards? It depends. It is considered one of the three most important professional guilds along with the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Since 1995, when the Screen Actors Guild created a ‘Best Cast’ Award there have been nine films that have won the top honors at the PGA, SAG and DGA. Of these, eight went on to win the ‘Best Picture’ award at the Oscars. That won’t happen this year, since the PGA and SAG had different films taking the top prize–the Best Cast Award (SAG) went to the South Korean comedy Parasite while the PGA award for ‘outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures’ went to the WWI film 1917.
There’s another ‘angle’ in the precursor awards worth keeping an eye on–that is the performance of a film that wins both the SAG Award and the Director’s Guild Award. Parasite director Boon Joon Ho is nominated for the top award at the DGA and since 1995 no film has won this award and the SAG ‘Best Cast’ award and not gone on to win the ‘Best Picture’ Academy Award. Here’s another interesting tidbit–should Sam Mendes win for 1917 that film would be worth keeping an eye on for a different reason. Three films that have won the PGA and DGA have suffered major upsets for the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar including Saving Private Ryan (1998), Brokeback Mountain (2005) and La La Land (2016).
72ND ANNUAL DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA (DGA) AWARDS 2020 BETTING ODDS
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR THEATRICAL FEATURE FILM
Boon Joon Ho/Parasite +200 Quintin Tarantino/Once Upon A Time In Hollywood +250 Sam Mendes/1917 +275 Martin Scorsese/The Irishman +450 Taika Waititi/Jojo Rabbit +450
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR FIRST TIME FEATURE FILM
Alma Har'el/Honey Boy +200 Melina Matsoukas/Queen and Slim +300 Mati Diop/Atlantics +300 Joe Talbot/The Last Black Man in San Francisco +300 Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz/Peanut Butter Falcon +500
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR TELEVISION DRAMATIC SERIES
Game of Thrones/The Long Night +175 This Extraordinary Being/Watchmen +250 Succession/This Is Not For Tears +300 Game of Thrones/The Last of the Starks +450 It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice/Watchmen +450
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR TELEVISION COMEDY SERIES
ronny/lilly/Barry +150 Marvelous Radio/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel +250 Veep/Veep +350 It's Comedy or Cabbage/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel +500 It's the Sixties, Man!/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel +500
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR TELEVISION MOVIE/MINI SERIES
When They See Us +250 Chernobyl +250 El Camino +350 All I Care About Is Love/Fosse/Verdon +450 Nowadays/Fosse/Verdon +600 Glory/Fosse/Verdon +600
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY
Honeyland +200 American Factory +225 The Cave +300 One Child Nation +350 Maiden +600
TO WIN DGA AWARD FOR TV VARIETY SERIES
Saturday Night Live +150 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver +300 Real Time With Bill Maher +300 Late Show with Stephen Colbert +300 CBS Sunday Morning +700