Directors Guild Nominees Include Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh

·4 min read
Netflix/20th Century/Focus

Jane Campion, Kenneth Branagh, Denis Villeneuve, Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson have been nominated as the best directors of 2021 by the Directors Guild of America, the DGA announced on Thursday.

Finishing off a remarkable day in which the Producers Guild, Writers Guild and American Cinema Editors also announced their nominations, the Directors Guild nominated Campion for “The Power of the Dog,” Branagh for “Belfast,” Villeneuve for “Dune,” Spielberg for “West Side Story” and McKay for “Don’t Look Up.”

Campion’s nomination marked the 11th time a woman has been nominated in the DGA’s feature-film category, and made her the second woman to be nominated twice in the category. Her first nod came in 1994 for “The Piano.”

The only other female director with two feature-film nominations is Kathryn Bigelow, who won for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker” and was nominated for 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” (Bigelow is a DGA nominee this year in the commercial category, for an iPhone ad.)

Spielberg’s nomination is his 12th in the category, breaking his own record as the director with the most nominations. Martin Scorsese is second with 10, and no other living director has more than five.

Other directors who were expected to be in contention for the nomination included Adam McKay for “Don’t Look Up,” Joel Coen for “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” Guillermo del Toro for “Nightmare Alley,” Sian Heder for “CODA,” Reinaldo Marcus Green for “King Richard,” Ruysuke Hamaguchi for the critics’ favorite “Drive My Car” and Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter.”

Gyllenhaal, though, was nominated in the First-Time Feature Film category. Other nominees in that category, where Netflix films took four of the six nominations, were Rebecca Hall for “Passing,” Lin-Manuel Miranda for “tick, tick…BOOM!,” Tatiana Huezo for “Prayers for the Stolen,” Michael Sarnoski for “Pig” and Emma Seligman for “Shiva Baby.”

While DGA nominations have historically been among the most accurate guild noms for predicting what Oscar voters will do, and a DGA win has been even more reliable at predicting an Oscar victory, the two groups haven’t matched up five-for-five since 2010.

Since then, the Academy’s Directors Branch has gotten increasingly idiosyncratic and international, choosing Thomas Vinterberg over DGA nominee Aaron Sorkin last year, and before that opting for Yorgos Lanthimos and Pawel Pawlikowski over Bradley Cooper and Bobby Farrelly, Lenny Abrahamson over Ridley Scott, and Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin over Ben Affleck and Bigelow.

Winners will be announced during the DGA Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 12. Also at that ceremony, first assistant director Joseph P. Reidy will receive the Frank Capra Achievement Award, and stage manager Garry W. Hood will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award.

Nominees in the TV, commercial and documentary categories were announced on Wednesday.

The nominations:


Paul Thomas Anderson
Licorice Pizza
(Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing)
Mr. Anderson’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager: Sue McNamara

  • First Assistant Director: Adam Somner

  • Second Assistant Director: Trevor Tavares

  • Second Second Assistant Directors: Kasia Trojak, Bob Riley, David Marnell

Kenneth Branagh
(Focus Features)

Jane Campion
The Power of the Dog

Steven Spielberg
West Side Story
(20th Century Studios)

Mr. Spielberg’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Managers: Carla Raij, Daniel Lupi

  • First Assistant Director: Adam Somner

  • Second Assistant Director: Jeremy Marks

  • Assistant Unit Production Manager: Robert T. Striem

  • Second Second Assistant Director: Josh Muzaffer

  • Additional Second Assistant Director: Billy Brennan

  • Location Managers: Robert T. Striem, Katherine Delaney

Denis Villeneuve
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Mr. Villeneuve’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Managers: Joe Caracciolo, Jr., James Grant

  • First Assistant Director: Chris Carreras

  • Second Assistant Director: Tom Rye 


Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Lost Daughter

Rebecca Hall

Tatiana Huezo
Prayers for the Stolen

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Tick, Tick… Boom!
Mr. Miranda’s Directorial Team: 

  • Unit Production Manager: Deb Dyer

  • First Assistant Director: Mariela Comitini

  • Second Assistant Directors: Josh A. Muzaffer, Luca Waldman

  • Second Second Assistant Directors: Melissa Morphet, Lincoln Major

  • Additional Second Assistant Director: Zach Citarella

  • Location Manager: Ryan Smith

Michael Sarnoski

Emma Seligman
Shiva Baby

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