To the surprise of no one, Alfonso Cuaron took last night's top honour from the Directors Guild of America for his magnum space opus Gravity. After last weekend's stunning tie at the PGA Awards, this validates Gravity's position as the true frontrunner in the race for Best Picture, but am I being too hasty?
Many pundits are still predicting a split between Best Picture and Best Director, whereby Steve McQueen's revered 12 Years a Slave wins the former by virtue of its prestige clout and historical importance, but Cuaron wins the latter by virtue of the technical proficiency and degree of difficulty of his film.
It strikes me as unlikely that there will actually be a split, given that fans of one film are almost surely going to vote for its director as well, but what does strike me as likely is that each film seems to have an equally good shot at taking both. I just can't decide which one!
Even if fewer Academy members have seen it, it's not so hard to imagine them chalking up a vote for 12 Years a Slave on pedigree alone. But Gravity is clearly the more widely appealing option of the two, as its triumph with the 15000-large DGA attests. This might be an edge-of-your-seat race right up until the final envelope on Oscar night.
Meanwhile, over in the Documentary Features category, it was Jehane Noujaim who took home the prize for her terrific Egyptian revolution doc The Square, which might provide a challenge to 20 Feet from Stardom for the Oscar. The Square has the benefit of being more current and significant in a political/historical sense than the relatively lightweight music doc. And they gave the Oscar to a relatively lightweight music doc just last year. Hmmmm....