And here we using the guild awards to play Oscar oracle again…

It’s tempting to view the Coen Brothers’ DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in The Moving Pictures as a sure-fire indicator that they’ll at least win their first Best Director Oscar, but recent history tells us that this ain’t exactly a fait accompli.  Though the DGA winner has gone on to lose the Oscar only six times since 1949, three of those instances occurred over the last thirteen years*.  But if the Coens are going to get snubbed this year, it’ll most likely be for Best Picture (where No Country splits the dour vote with There Will Be Blood, thus allowing Juno to sneak in); their only serious competition in the Director category is Paul Thomas Anderson, and this is just his first nomination. 

As for the American Society of Cinematographers… they may be a less reliable barometer for the Best Cinematography Oscar, but if you’re pulling for the great Roger Deakins to finally win his first Academy Award (for No Country for Old Men or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), his ASC loss to There Will Be Blood‘s Robert Elswit might portend an unconscionable sixth disappointment.  (I’m surprised he only has one ASC trophy on his shelf, but how could a society of cinematographers not honor him for The Man Who Wasn’t There?)  It’ll all depend on how heavily the Academy goes for No Country; if it’s a spread-it-around night, I really don’t like Deakins’ chances.

Tonight brings the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which, thanks to a WGA waiver, will be the season’s first celeb-studded awards gala (broadcast on TNT).  Too bad it’s raining like the end of The Fan up in Hollywood.

*Ron Howard (Apollo 13), Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Rob Marshall (Chicago) won the DGA in 1996, 2001 and 2003, only to lose to Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) and Roman Polanski (The Pianist).