DGA and PGA Noms Preview: Will Steven Spielberg and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Fly Toward Oscars?

The Oscar races for best picture, director and the four acting categories will be put into focus.

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the SAG Awards will kick things off with their unveiling of its nominees in film and television (Variety has shared its final predictions).

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Afterward, the Directors Guild of America will reveal the five directorial achievements for this year’s upcoming 75th ceremony, scheduled to take place on Saturday, Feb. 18, the day before the BAFTA Awards.

You can’t talk about the director race without Steven Spielberg being a part of it, even with the BAFTA snub from the longlist. This year, Spielberg, who won the Oscar prize twice for helming — “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) — finds himself in one of his most substantial positions yet for his deeply personal drama “The Fabelmans.” With three DGA wins and 12 nominations, Spielberg is both the most awarded and most nominated filmmaker in history. After losing the Oscar and DGA for “Lincoln” (2012) to Ang Lee (following the infamous Ben Affleck snub), it’s may be time for him to win a third.

It’s noteworthy that the DGA and Oscar nomination lineup for director hasn’t matched since the introductory year of the best picture expansion, when Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win each of those categories with “The Hurt Locker” (2009).

The DGA traditionally has indicated the top five contenders in the best picture race. Only one DGA nominee in the expanded best picture era has failed to nab a best picture nomination: David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011).

In the last decade, the winner of the DGA has gone on to win the Oscar for best director except for two times: Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) over Sam Mendes (“1917”) in 2019 and Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) over the Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck (“Argo”) in 2012.

When it comes to the debut filmmakers, a hot race emerges with Charlotte Wells becoming a frontrunner for her moving drama “Aftersun.” She’ll likely be joined by writer and director Elegance Bratton for his semi-autobiographical drama “The Inspection.”

There have been 11 women previously nominated for the first-time director: Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”), Radha Blank (“The Forty-Year-Old Version”), Regina King (“One Night in Miami”), Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”), Kelly Fremon Craig (“The Edge of Seventeen”), Mati Diop (“Atlantics”), Melina Matsoukas (“Queen & Slim”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”), Rebecca Hall (“Passing”), Tatiana Huezo (“Prayers for the Stolen”) and Emma Seligman (“Shiva Baby”). This year we could have upwards of three or four females leading their male counterparts for the first time.

The DGA represents more than 19,000 members worldwide. There are just over 570 voting members of the Academy’s directors branch.

With the Producers Guild of America Awards nominations, you can see the trends for populist titles, but there hasn’t been this many in the race, at one time, since the expansion to 10. We’re expecting to see love for “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” but we could also have a scenario where the other two big-budget sequels join them — “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

This would also be one of the last stands for Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” to make on the road to a best picture nomination (or snub?).

See Variety’s ranked predictions for the DGA and PGA Awards nominations below.

DGA Final Nominations Predictions

Feature Film

  1. Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans” (Universal Pictures)

  2. Todd Field, “Tár” (Focus Features)

  3. Baz Luhrmann, “Elvis” (Warner Bros.)

  4. Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures)

  5. Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)

Alternates: James Cameron, “Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios); Edward Berger, “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix); Joseph Kosinski, “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures); Sarah Polley, “Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

First-Time Feature Film

  1. Charlotte Wells, “Aftersun” (A24)

  2. Elegance Bratton, “The Inspection” (A24)

  3. B.J. Novak, “Vengeance” (Focus Features)

  4. Nikyatu Jusu, “Nanny” (Amazon Studios)

  5. Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, “Murina” (Kino Lorber)

Alternates: Adamma Ebo, “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” (Focus Features); Frances O’Connor, “Emily” (Bleecker Street); Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum, “Dog” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)

Documentary Feature

  1. Shaunak Sen, “All That Breathes” (HBO Documentary Films/Sideshow)

  2. Ryan White, “Good Night Oppy” (Amazon Studios)

  3. Daniel Roher, “Navalny” (CNN/Warner Bros.)

  4. Matthew Heineman, “Retrograde” (National Geographic Films)

  5. Laura Poitras, “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon)

Alternates: Sara Dosa, “Fire of Love” (National Geographic Documentary/Neon); Margaret Brown, “Descendant” (Netflix); Alex Pritz, “The Territory” (National Geographic)

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY, (aka KNIVES OUT 2), from left: Daniel Craig, director Rian Johnson. on set, 2022. ph: John Wilson / © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection
Daniel Craig with director Rian Johnson on the set of ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.’

PGA Final Nominations Predictions

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

  1. “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures) — Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison

  2. “The Fabelmans” (Universal Pictures) — Tony Kushner, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg

  3. “Elvis” (Warner Bros.) — Baz Luhrmann, Gail Berman, Catherine Martin, Patrick McCormick, Schuyler Weiss

  4. “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) — Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh

  5. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) — Daniel Kwan, Mike Larocca, Daniel Scheinert, Jonathan Wang

  6. “Tár” (Focus Features) — Todd Field, Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan

  7. “Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios) — James Cameron, Jon Landau

  8. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Netflix) — Rian Johnson, Ram Bergman

  9. “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) — Daniel Marc Dreifuss, Malte Grunert

  10. “Women Talking” (MGM/United Artists Releasing) — Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Frances McDormand

Alternates: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Marvel Studios); “Triangle of Sadness” (Neon); “The Woman King” (Sony Pictures)

Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

  1. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (Netflix) — Guillermo del Toro, Alexander Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, Lisa Henson, Gary Ungar

  2. “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” (A24) — Dean Fleischer-Camp, Andrew Goldman, Elisabeth Holm, Caroline Kaplan, Paul Mezey

  3. “Turning Red” (Pixar) — Lindsey Collins

  4. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Universal Pictures/Illumination) — Galyn Susman

  5. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (DreamWorks Animation) — Mark Swift

Alternates: “The Bad Guys” (Universal Pictures); “Lightyear” (Pixar); “Wendell and Wild” (Netflix)

To see the current rankings for each category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub. Make sure to bookmark the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines for the season.

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