Directors Guild of America

Ben Affleck Wins the 2013 Directors Guild Award

It's on to the Oscars for 'Argo', but that Best Director slot is still left up for grabs

Ben Affleck on the set of Argo
Ben Affleck on the set of Argo
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) held the 2013 Directors Guild Awards tonight, honoring the "best" in directing in a variety of mediums, but we here are primarily interested in the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, an award very few believed would go to anyone other than Ben Affleck for Argo. Turns out, they were right.

I posted a poll earlier today asking readers to predict who they believed would win and Affleck came out on top with more than 65% of the vote with Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) a distant second.

While Affleck's win tonight won't put him in the driver's seat for an Oscar for Best Director this year, considering he wasn't nominated, it all but shores up Argo's position as the presumptive front-runner for Best Picture, a prediction even the most ardent of Lincoln supporters would have a hard time arguing against at this point.

Lincoln does, however, still have its battles to be fought (and this isn't to say it is 100% out of the Best Picture race) as I still believe Spielberg to be the front-runner for Best Director, though he faces stiff competition in fellow DGA nominee Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and that "could the Weinsteins actually pull it off?" factor that will follow David O. Russell and Silver Linings Playbook around up to, and until, the Best Picture award is announced. Never count Harvey out.

Along with Affleck, directors nominated for the DGA Award that weren't nominated for Best Director at the Oscars include Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables).

You can find all my current predictions for the 2013 Oscars right here and I added Affleck's DGA win to the Oscar Overture, which also includes the winners from the Art Directors Guild Awards, which was also held tonight and saw Anna Karenina (Period), Life of Pi (Fantasy) and Skyfall (Modern) awarded.

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  • http://smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    What a wacky year this has been, Affleck's on an unstoppable roll.

    How will it end, who knows?

  • William

    I wonder how those within the Academy feel now with the Affleck snub? Are they kicking themselves at this point? Do they look at themselves in the mirror over this? Is it a product of the earlier voting system this year? The demographic of voters?

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      Honestly, I doubt the Academy cares. They aren't the type to look at other awards and say, "Well, everyone else chose -film title here-, we should do that!" Although I think that Argo is the frontrunner (unfortunately), I don't think they'd be kicking themselves, per say.

      • William

        Usually I'm with you in that they have that mind set (rightfully), they are the Academy, and they have the top prize; but occasionally it looks like they regret some nominees and winners, while still sticking to their guns of course.

        As far as my opinion on Argo; I liked it a lot. I won't mind it winning Best Picture, but wouldn't mind if another film won instead.

        • Juan

          They'll show they're sorry by giving him Best Director on his first nom. I'm pretty sure they are satisfied with the director line up, it's pretty awesome

  • http://cineenuruguay.blogspot.com/ Driver

    And the oscar goes to Argo. I guess I'm happy with that decision, and there's still a lot to look forward to.

    Coolest oscars in years...

  • Alice Johnson

    Have been sitting up with fingers crossed. Argo was the Best film of the year and Mr Affleck has proven he is an incredibly talented film maker. I have loved and respected his work since the beginning of his career. Always a severely underrated Actor. Mr Affleck has made a lot of very good films but people only wish to talk about the few that did not work. Who does not have films that do not work? All three of the films he has directed have been wonderfully crafted, compelling films. So happy he has won all the Awards and sadly once again the Academy has egg on their faces. They continue to get it wrong so much of the time!

  • Jack

    Spielberg will probably win by default.

    Beginning to think Lincoln's only Oscar will go to Lewis. Jones won SAG, but in this year anything goes.

    PICTURE: Argo
    DIRECTOR: Spielberg
    ACTOR: Lewis
    ACTRESS: Lawrence
    SUPPORTING: Jones?
    SUPPORTING: Hathaway
    OG SCREENPLAY: Amour
    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Argo if it wins WGA
    CINEMATOGRAPHY: Life of Pi
    EDITING: Argo
    PRODUCTION: Life of Pi
    COSTUME: Les Miserables/Anna Karenina
    SCORE: Life of Pi
    SOUND: Argo
    SOUND: Les Miserables

    • Art

      I also think Argo has a chance at screenplay and maybe sound editing. The WGA should paint a clearer picture in screenplay category.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    No surprise here. Argo is a lock.

  • Art

    Great for him, I'm glad he has really turned his career around from his jersey girl, gigli days. I'm sure it will most likely win best picture, but the only small problem is that I don't see it winning many other categories as most best picture winners do. Only film to win with two other categories lately is Crash, and I only have Argo winning another category (Editing) but could have a shot at screenplay.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

    For all the talk about how crazy a year it's been, it's really been quite dull. Argo's won everything, except for a couple critics groups going for ZDT.
    Like I said, Argo is quite a good film, and on a normal year I'd be happy to see it win best picture. But in a year that's been so strong it feels like a bit of a let down to see something with basically no substance win.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    Oh come on. Don't get me wrong, I love Argo as a film and want it to win Best Picture. But I honestly do not think it was a directorial achievement for Affleck to direct it. Lee & Hooper had more challenging material to direct.

    • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

      More difficult, perhaps, but Les Mis was terrible considering what it could have been. If Lee won, though, I'd have no qualms. I'd really like for the Best Director Oscar to magically be awarded to David O. Russell. Silver Linings Playbook was quite handily my favorite film if the year.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

        Agreed. If the last hour and a half of Les Mis was as good as the first hour, it would be a different story now. I really hope Lee is the front runner for best director followed by Russell.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DavidG/ David Gaillardetz

    Thanks Ben Affleck for turning this year into yet another boring Best Picture race. Way to be selfish. :-P

  • http://www.gamingsymmetry.com Stinger

    I think it's an insult to the word "director" to consider "Argo" worthy of directing awards. TV series now have superior filming than that, the ones like "Breaking Bad" or "Game of Thrones", Close-up shot after close-up shot, cliche montages, exaggerated editing, it was done by a technician and it it could be done by any technician. It was as impressive as "Game Change" or any TV movie this year. It deserved the best directors award only if it was competing with some low-budget porn.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DavidG/ David Gaillardetz

      Wow, calm down there man. When you use such exaggerated hyperbole, you isolate your base and end up just looking irrational. Thinking someone else should have won the award is one thing, but to say it is barely better than low-budget porn is just naive sensationalism.

    • Garrett the Mad

      And I'm the crazy one on these boards!

    • Jack

      How many movies have you directed, bro?

  • Dale

    Happy that Ben won the DGA award. Concerning the Oscar director race, I have a strong hunch it will go to David O. Russell.

    • Lewis

      I'm kind of leaning in that direction as well. The love for his film is growing, plus he has the strong push from the Weinstein Company...

      • Lewis

        But then again, Ang Lee took a book that many people said was unfilmable and made a very lovely work out of it. Life of Pi contains several beautiful sequences.

  • Liathach

    For my money Ang Lee deserved the directing award far more, for filming the unfilmable and making it look so beautiful.

  • Lewis

    talk about a weird set-up for the Oscars....

    Ben Affleck wins the DGA award for Best Director

    okay, so now the Oscar for Director is WIDE OPEN. I have virtually no clue who will win it. It will most likely go to the one film that is Argo's closest competition.

    That being said, I really admired Silver Linings Playbook after watching it again last night. It is a better film than Lincoln. David O. Russell might win Best Director, or then again, it could go to Steven Speilberg, but he already has 2 Oscars.

    Strange. I hope somebody puts the Academy on the spot come Oscar night and calls them out. Affleck was snubbed. How could he win the DGA (in which a lot of its members are also part of the Academy), and not even get an Oscar nomination? The voting must have been really close, with Affleck unfortunately coming in 6th place.

    I would have snubbed Steven Speilberg who shot in a very simple style. His camera hardly moved. Most of Lincoln's scenes are interior, as opposed to David O. Russel's nearly constant moving camera in capturing Silver Linings Playbook.

    Best Director on Feb. 24 is anybody's guess.

  • Chris Etrata

    You remember the Apollo 13 race. It was being looked as a best picture contender but then Ron Howard was snubbed of best director and despite the pga dga sag wins, it ultimately lost to Braveheart.

    I love Argo but I would be shocked it it won best picture in light of the best director snub. It would look bad for the academy if they gave a best picture award to a film where they don't even consider the director. Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook will probably win.

    • Paul Lynch

      You'd be shocked if Argo won Best Picture? I'd be shocked if it didn't after all it's wins. Apollo 13 was the exception, not the rule.

  • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

    I'm starting to feel that there was a computer error in tallying votes for the Oscars

  • Newbourne

    How can they award a film with Best Picture when they don't think the directing was anything special? If they give Argo the award, they will be basically admitting that they regret snubbing Affleck.

    The way I see it, the Academy needs to give Best Director and Picture to either Amour or Beasts. Like that, they can chalk it up to everyone else snubbing Haneke instead of the Academy snubbing Affleck.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

      It is completely possible for a movie to have a very good story making great entertainment and not be a very challenging task for the director to execute the movie. That is Argo. Don't get me wrong, Affleck is very talented and I do want Argo to win best picture, but when it comes to the direction, any good director could have done it. On the other hand, Lee had a much difficult task to direct Life of Pi which shows directorial skills. The key word here is skills, certain movies need specific skills to execute it well. I cannot find anything in Argo that requires a unique mind.

      • Chris Etrata

        It may be possible but extremely unlikely for Argo to win Best Picture without a best director nomination. Unique or not, he is responsible for putting the whole film together with acting and the production. Any other director might have screwed this one up. I still think the Academy has a grudge against him for his dismal output in the early 2000s headlined by Gigli.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mikey/ Mikey

    Well Best Pic won't be any fun, but since Affleck can't win the Best Director oscar, that one, along with supporting actor, are gonna be a lot of fun to predict.

  • AJ

    How is it Affleck didn't get an Oscar Nomination if the Directors Guild and the Actors Guild were both so behind "Argo"? What segment of the Oscar voters determines the nominees for director? Or rather, what segment was against Affleck enough to keep him out when his film is sweeping all these other awards?

    • Paul Lynch

      The directors branch of the Academy is responsible for directors nominations. They constitute only 371 people (if they all voted), and are more snobby than the DGA, which has many members from the TV industry.

      • AJ

        Ah... that helps. I thought nominations were put in by others in their field, but I didn't piece together that television directors fill in the ranks of the DGA making it a substantially different body than those that picked the nominees.

      • Newbourne

        Also, most of them are very old and couldn't handle the new online voting system. This problem was so substantial that the Academy had to extend the voting period. This pretty much shows that the nominees were decided by a smaller portion than usual. Fifty people could have easily ended up deciding the nominees.