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'Nebraska' director Alexander Payne snubbed by DGA Award nominations

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Nominations for the 2014 Director's Guild Awards were announced today, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. The Director's Guild Award is the best indicator of who will win the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture. Over the last ten years the winner of the DGA winner has gone on to win Best Director at the Oscars nine out ten times. The same statistic is also true for the DGA winner's film to go on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. So, those films that are not nominated for a DGA today have a very slim chance of winning Best Director or Best Picture come this March at the Oscars.

Nominated today for a DGA were Alfonso Cuarón for "Gravity", Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave," David O. Russell for "American Hustle," Paul Greengrass for "Captain Phillips" and Martin Scorsese for "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Missing from the list are Alexander Payne for "Nebraska," the Coen brothers for "Inside Llewyn Davis" and Spike Jonze for "Her." The omission of Payne from this list is a travesty. "Nebraska" is not only one of the finest films of the year, but it is the best of Alexander Payne's career.

Of today's list of nominees, three directors are receiving their first DGA nomination. They are Alfonso Cuarón for "Gravity," Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave" and Paul Greengrass for "Captain Phillips." All of these directors deserve recognition, however I think Alexander Payne for "Nebraska" should have been in the running instead of Paul Greengrass for "Captain Phillips."

No surprise is the nomination for Martin Scorsese for "The Wolf of Wall Street." The director is considered to be one of the finest directors of all time. Since the start of his career Scorsese has been nominated nine times, including today. This masterful director, however, has only won one DGA. His win came in 2007 for "The Departed." And Scorsese went on the win an Oscar for Best Directing for "The Departed" and the film also won the Best Picture Oscar.

Last of the nominees today is David O. Russell for "American Hustle." And I think this will be David O. Russell's year! "American Hustle" has all the prime ingredients to win Best Original Screenplay (also written by Russell), Best Director and Best Film at the next Oscars. It may as well win for Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Costumes, Best Hair and Makeup and even perhaps a Best Supporting Actress win for Jennifer Lawrence.

The DGA Awards nominees for television and commercials will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, and the announcement for Documentary nominees will be on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. Winners of the DGA Awards will be named at the 66th Annual DGA Awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. This event is not televised.

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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cellphones and no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.

-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at


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