The Directors Guild of America has spoken, naming Alejandro G. Innaritu's Birdman the best directed film of 2014, echoing the preference of both the Producers and Screen Actors Guilds.
I, for one, can't complain about this. Birdman is one of the year's best, and what a refreshing change of pace it'll be to see a comedy win the Academy's top honour.
But that still doesn't quite settle things in Best Director...
What Richard Linklater accomplished with Boyhood is hard to discount. Two straight years of Picture/Director splits might signal that voters are collectively becoming more thoughtful and discerning when it comes to differentiating the two categories.... Or that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
Honestly, when I see an opportunity for AMPAS to give each of Linklater, Inarritu, and Wes Anderson an Oscar (all three are up for Best Director, Picture, and Original Screenplay), the temptation to believe that they will do that is overwhelming. But then I have to remind myself that the Academy is not a sentient being that can consciously spread the wealth. The hive mind doesn't work that way, and more often than not, people go home empty-handed.
I'm thrilled for Inarritu, but to see him fly away with all three of those trophies while Linklater and Anderson (and Birdman star Michael Keaton) turn up goose-eggs would be something of a disappointment. My fingers are crossed that the tightness of the race results in things being properly divvied up.
And one encouraging factoid that's circulating after last night's proceedings is that four of the DGA winners are women, including pending Best Documentary champ Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) and Lisa Cholodenko (who aught to have won an Oscar a few years back for her wonderful The Kids Are All Right). In a business so thoroughly dominated by male voices telling male-oriented stories, this is a very good thing.