Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, which is among the nominees for this year’s Directors Guild award for outstanding directorial achievement. Photo: AP

La La Land, Moonlight continue run with Directors Guild Award nominations

Damien Chazelle’s throwback musical and Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama cement their status as Oscars favourites with nominations for outstanding directorial achievement award

It was another sunny day on Thursday for Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical La La Land and Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale Moonlight on the long journey to the Oscars.

After winning the top film awards at the Golden Globes, Chazelle and Jenkins both scored their first nomination for a Directors Guild Award, further enhancing the likelihood of an Oscar nod.
Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in a scene from Moonlight. Photo: AP

The guild’s nominees for outstanding directorial achievement for a feature film also included Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan, Lion director Garth Davis and Denis Villeneuve of Arrival .

Davis is also nominated for best first feature along with Nate Parker for Birth of a Nation. Publicity about a 17-year-old rape allegation against Parker had seemed to sink his chances for awards. Parker was acquitted.
Casey Affleck in a scene from Manchester By The Sea. Its director, Kenneth Lonergan, is in the running for the Directors Guild’s top award. Photo: AP

Other first feature nominees include Dan Trachtenberg for 10 Cloverfield Lane , Tim Miller for Deadpool and Kelly Fremon Craig for The Edge of Seventeen.

While the DGA nominees for feature film achievement rarely match up exactly with nods for the Academy Award, the guild choices can be a formidable predictor of the eventual Oscar winner.

With nearly 16,000 members, including television and commercial directors, the guild often selects a more populist line-up when compared with the selections of the nearly 400 members of the directors’ branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Last year, Alejandro Inarritu picked up the feature film award for The Revenant before going on to win best director at the Oscars.

Ryan Reyonlds in a scene from Deadpool, whose first-time director, Tim Miller, is in contention for the Directors Guild award. Photo: AP

Voting for Oscar nominations closes on Friday, and nominees will be announced on January 24.

With nominations from the Producers Guild this week, La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea appear to be the front runners.

Notably absent from the guild nominations were Martin Scorsese for Silence, Denzel Washington for Fences and Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge , a film that left the Golden Globes empty-handed.

Winners of the 69th annual Directors Guild awards will be announced at a dinner in Los Angeles on February 4.