With less than a month to go until the Academy Awards, it seems there's still little consensus about which film be named best picture.
Last weekend, the top prize given out by the Screen Actors Guild — the movie ensemble award — went to the investigative journalism tale "Spotlight," directed by Tom McCarthy. But earlier in the month, the Producers Guild bestowed its top honor on Adam McKay's financial drama, "The Big Short."
Which is why so many in the industry will be watching to see who the Directors Guild of America recognizes on Saturday night, when the organization hosts its annual, untelevised ceremony. Though the event honors talent from all areas of the business — for example, Amy Schumer is nominated for co-directing an episode of her Comedy Central show — the evening's biggest race is in the feature film category. This year, the nominees include McCarthy, McKay, Alejandro G. Iñarritu ("The Revenant"), George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road") and Ridley Scott ("The Martian").
Last year, Iñarritu was nominated in the same category by the DGA for his work on "Birdman," and he won, paving the way for his Oscar win just weeks later. While "The Revenant" did well at the Golden Globes in January, it's unclear if the Mexican filmmaker can pull off back-to-back DGA wins. (It's notable, too, that "Birdman" also went on to win the best picture Oscar.)
His win this year is far from a sure thing. There seems to be some momentum — or at least sentiment — for Scott, whom the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not nominate as best director this year. This has echoes of 2013 when Ben Affleck was also left out of the directors race but still managed to pick up the DGA's feature award. The film he directed, "Argo," was eventually named the year's best picture at the Academy Awards.
There's also a lot of love out there for Miller, whose "Mad Max" sequel was beloved by critics. The film scored a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes upon its release, and Miller has since gone on to pick up a handful of directing awards from influential groups, including the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. Miller brought new energy and kinetic action to the franchise after stepping away from it for 30 years.
Whoever takes home the DGA prize, one thing's clear: The winner will have a pretty good shot come Feb. 28. Over the past two decades, 16 of those who took home the top DGA award went on to win best director at the Oscars.
Check back Saturday for our full coverage from the DGA awards — from the red carpet to the behind-the-scenes action in the ballroom.
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