The Directors Guild of America has announced the five nominees for its feature film awards. They are: Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water"); Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird"); Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"); Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk"); and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”).
Except for Nolan, this is the first time that any of the other filmmakers have received a DGA nomination. The Directors Guild choices often are an accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominees, which will be announced on Jan. 23.
In light of their nominations, we've revisit our conversations with four of the acclaimed directors.
Here some standout moments:
Greta Gerwig on curating the energy of a film set:
Films are mysterious. I think a lot of emotional energy gets into them that was the ambiance on the set. I definitely would play music a lot. That was something that I've always liked — when a director sets the mood by music. So I had a tiny boombox and I would know what we were shooting every day and I would have songs that I was specifically gunning for. It wasn't like I was picking them in the moment. I actually made playlists for every single day of shooting. And I just felt like it brought everybody into the same space. ... This was one of the special ones, I will say. And everybody felt it, on set.
Jordan Peele on his relationship to the horror genre:
It's one of those things that's in my marrow. I was very afraid of horror movies as a kid. I had a wild imagination. And it was kind of uncontrollable. And at some point I grew up and I began to respect these films that could affect me so powerfully. There was like a lifelong journey to kind of conquer your own fear.
Christopher Nolan on making his first film about real people:
The first audience we showed the film with was an audience of veterans — of people who'd actually been [at Dunkirk] — and their families. I stood up there in front of them, really for the first time truly struck by a feeling of terror, but also a massive feeling of responsibility. We carried it with us, but to do your job you have to kind of bury that a little bit and [say], Okay, we're going to be filmmakers, we're going to make a film. So you put that feeling of awesome responsibility to one side. And then when the film is finished and you're showing it to people who were actually there, it comes flooding back.
Guillermo del Toro on the challenges of putting one's soul into a film:
You prepare for three years for a sort of coming-of-age ball. And as you're entering the ballroom, your tux either starts coming apart at the seams or it holds. And it's a process that is really unnerving because you are all of a sudden naked on stage, in a very unforgiving light. And the only thing you can do is be completely and coherently sincere. Movies are a lie detector. And if you lie, it shows — at least I think it does.