Here we go again: Ben Affleck won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film at the Directors Guild Awards on Saturday night in Los Angeles. Affleck, who directed "Argo," defeated Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables") for the award.
The DGA award is normally an excellent barometer of who will win Best Director at the Oscars. Only six times since 1948, when the Directors Guild first started giving out awards, has the DGA winner failed to win an Academy Award. From the DGA Awards website:
1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar® for Oliver!.
1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA's nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret.
1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa.
1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters cited Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
2001: Ang Lee took home the DGA Award for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, while the Oscar® went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic.
2003: Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist, but the DGA Award went to Rob Marshall for Chicago.
One more name will be added to that list come Feb. 24, as Affleck was not nominated for Best Director by the Academy Awards, a snub that seems more foolish by the hour. Since the Oscar nominations were announced on Jan. 10, Affleck has been honored at the Golden Globes, Producers Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and, now, the Directors Guild Awards. Those victories could be significant for "Argo," which could become the first Best Picture winner without a subsequent Best Director nomination since "Driving Miss Daisy." Of course, it's not a sure thing just yet -- something Spielberg and Team "Lincoln" will be happy to hear. "Apollo 13" won the PGA, DGA and SAG awards during awards season in 1995, but lost Best Picture at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1996 to "Braveheart." Like Affleck, "Apollo 13" director Ron Howard was not nominated for an Oscar.
The 85th annual Academy Awards are set for Feb. 24. Spielberg and Lee are nominated, along with Michael Haneke ("Amour"), David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild").