With Directors, Writers, Producers, and Editors Guild Noms, the Oscar Race Takes Shape

Welcome to the Super Thursday of Oscar season, in which four major groups—the Producers Guild (PGA), Directors Guild (DGA) Writers Guild (WGA), and American Cinema Editors (ACE)—all announced their nominations on the same day, shedding more light on what’s to come when Oscar nominations are announced February 8. Now that the dust has settled, let’s dive into which films saw a boost from today’s plethora of guild endorsements, and which may now officially be dead in the water.

This season’s front-runners continued to fare very well. Belfast and The Power of the Dog both earned PGA, DGA, and ASC nominations, though neither was eligible for a WGA Award. Still, both have solidified their slots for best picture, and likely a slew of other nominations. Both will be eligible for Oscar screenplay noms and should make those lists as well, along with directing nods for helmers Kenneth Branagh and Jane Campion.

Also comfortably secure in their nominations for best picture are the two films that were able to pull off nominations on all four lists: Licorice Pizza and Dune. Both have been critically acclaimed and popped up on critics and guild lists throughout the season. The PGA nominations especially signal that best-picture noms are on the way.

It’s rare for a film that doesn’t make the PGA’s list of 10 nominees to make the Oscars best-picture list, and if one is able to do so, it’s usually a smaller picture. (The Father is the most recent example of an exception.) So we can’t count out Drive My Car, Macbeth, or The Lost Daughter to break through just yet. But the PGA’s omission of House of Gucci does signal the end of the road for the Ridley Scott ensemble film. It’s also bad news for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which Marvel and Sony had hoped would seriously be considered for best picture, and Bond film No Time to Die, both of which were snubbed.

The biggest surprise on the PGA list was the inclusion of Being the Ricardos, the Aaron Sorkin–helmed story starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. That film, which garnered mixed reviews, has been on the bubble all season. But with both stars earning SAG Awards nominations and Sorkin also earning a WGA nomination, it’s clear that it has gained momentum and is a real contender in several categories, including picture.

Tick, Tick…Boom!, Netflix’s musical based on the life and work of Rent creator Jonathan Larson, had been seen mostly as an awards vehicle for lead Andrew Garfield—but it made the PGA, WGA, and ACE lists as well today. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who helmed the film, also earned a DGA nomination for a directorial debut (The Lost Daughter’s Maggie Gyllenhaal and Passing’s Rebecca Hall are nominated in the same category), which confirms that the project is also respected by the directors guild. Could an Oscar best-picture nomination be next? With the Academy setting its best-picture list at 10 this year for the first time, there’s an opportunity for a film like this to earn a spot it may not have in the past.

There were no surprises on the DGA’s list of five nominees, which included Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza, Steven Spielberg for West Side Story, and Denis Villeneuve for Dune, along with Campion and Branagh. There was some possibility that Guillermo del Toro would make the DGA list because he’s a beloved filmmaker and past Oscar winner. But with his omission, Nightmare Alley remains very much on the bubble. Its WGA nomination was a nice boost, but missing the PGA list is a big strike against it.

The WGA’s list was also without surprises, other than the films that weren’t eligible—a list that includes The Lost Daughter and Drive My Car, as well as the aforementioned The Power of the Dog and Belfast. (The WGA’s requirements are among the most restrictive of every guild, and major Oscar contenders, especially those by first-time scribes or international features, are ruled ineligible nearly every year.)

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