Directors Guild Awards 2021: Two Women Directors among Five Nominees

Nominees for the directors guild’s top prize include Aaron Sorkin, David Fincher and Lee Isaac Chung.

The Directors Guild of America on Tuesday announced the feature-film and first-time director nominees for the 2021 DGA Awards.

The feature-film director nominees are Minari‘s Lee Isaac Chung, Promising Young Woman‘s Emerald Fennell, Mank‘s David Fincher, Trial of the Chicago 7‘s Aaron Sorkin and Nomadland‘s Chloé Zhao.

Last year, 1917‘s Sam Mendes won the DGA’s feature-film award before losing the best director Oscar to fellow DGA nominee, Parasite‘s Bong Joon Ho.

The first-time director nominees are:

The Forty-Year-Old Version‘s Radha Blank, I’m No Longer Here Fernando Frías de la Parra, One Night in Miami‘s Regina King, Sound of Metal‘s Darius Marder and The Father‘s Florian Zeller.

The DGA, one of Hollywood’s most male-dominated guilds, has for the first time nominated two women, Zhao and Fennell, in its feature directing category. Zhao is also the first woman of color nominated in the feature director category.

Before this, the directors guild had nominated a woman in the feature-film category just eight times, the last being Greta Gerwig in 2018 for Lady Bird. This year, two more women, Radha Blank and Regina King, also secured nominations in the DGA’s first-time feature directing category.

The DGA feature nominees often heavily overlap with the Film Academy’s choices in the directing category, with typically at least four of the five contenders repeating in the Oscar nominations. Fifteen of the last 17 winners of the DGA award have gone on to win the Oscar.

Zhao, who won best director at the Golden Globes, and Fincher, who has twice before been nominated for best director, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network, appear to be the frontrunners in the director race. This year’s DGA nominations elevate Sorkin, long best known for his screenwriting, in the director Oscar race, as well as Fennell, who also collected a best director nomination at the Golden Globes.

Notable absences from the nominations are Paul Greengrass (Universal’s News of the World), Spike Lee (Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods), Shaka King (Warner Bros.’ Judas and the Black Messiah) and George C. Wolfe (Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).

The group is honoring two people of color among its feature nominees, Korean-American director Chung and Chinese director Zhao, and three people of color among its first-time feature directing nominees, with Black directors Radha Blank and Regina King and Mexican director Fernando Frías de la Parra.

The 73rd annual DGA Awards are set for April 10.

A list of the 2021 DGA Awards’ feature-film and first-time director nominees follows.

Outstanding Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for 2020:

Lee Isaac Chung



Mr. Chung’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Dylan Brodie

First Assistant Director: Jeff Dubray

Second Assistant Director: Ann Laudick

Second Second Assistant Director: Stephen J. Hanan

Emerald Fennell

Promising Young Woman

(Focus Features)

Ms. Fennell’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Reena Magsarili Raasch

First Assistant Director: Michael T. Meador

Second Assistant Director: Alexander Armero

Second Second Assistant Director: Anthony Manzo

David Fincher



Mr. Fincher’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Allen Kupetsky

First Assistant Director: Richard Goodwin

Second Assistant Director: Samantha McGrady

Second Second Assistant Director: Matt McKinnon

Additional Second Assistant Directors: Jeff Goodell, John Stern, George Williams III

Aaron Sorkin

The Trial of the Chicago 7

(Netflix; DreamWorks Pictures)

Mr. Sorkin’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Managers: Charles Miller, Stuart M. Besser, Jonathan Shoemaker

First Assistant Director: Joseph P. Reidy

Second Assistant Director: Rachel Jaros

Second Second Assistant Director: Justin Bischoff

Location Managers: Dennis Voskov, Nick Rafferty (Chicago Unit)

Chloé Zhao


(Searchlight Pictures)

Ms. Zhao’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Mary Kerrigan

First Assistant Director: Mary Kerrigan

Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director:

Radha Blank

The Forty-Year-Old Version


Ms. Blank’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: James Price

First Assistant Director: Michael L. Walker

Second Assistant Director: Kenyon Noble

Second Second Assistant Director: Jonathan Santos

Location Managers: Katarina Dedicova, Tim Stacker

Fernando Frías de la Parra

I’m No Longer Here


Mr. Frías’s Directorial Team:

Production Managers: Martín Pérez Valle, Assia Fratz (New York Unit)

First Assistant Director: Carlos Suazo

Second Assistant Directors: Alí Santiago, Alex Burstein (New York Unit)

Second Second Assistant Directors: Karen Alcázar, Anthony James Faure (New York Unit)

Regina King

One Night in Miami

(Amazon Studios)

Ms. King’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Paul O. Davis

First Assistant Director: Mark Anthony Little

Second Assistant Director: Kevin O’Neil

Darius Marder

Sound of Metal

(Amazon Studios)

Mr. Marder’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Amy Greene

First Assistant Director: Matthew Vose Campbell

Florian Zeller

The Father

(Sony Pictures Classics)

Mr. Zeller’s Directorial Team:

First Assistant Director: George Every

Second Assistant Director: Jamie D. Allen