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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

No DGA Nod for Coens … Really?


Who’s absent from this list? Joel and Ethan Coen. Who would I have booted out to make room for them? Probably Russell. I liked The Fighter fine, for what it is, but it remains a story where the main character is less interesting than his brother or his sister, and that was a directorial choice. I certainly can’t argue with Nolan or Aronofsky, and wouldn’t argue with Fincher given that I seem to be the only person on the planet who isn’t head-over-hells for The Social Network.

Even Alliance of Women Film Journalists, one of my critics’ groups, voted for Social Network for Best Pic in spite of it having perhaps the worst female characters in a film this year outside of maybe The Fighter‘s lower-class-Boston Greek chorus of blurry sisters and Sex and the City 2‘s … well, you know that one had. But if a whole slew of female film critics don’t have a problem with that, why should I, right?

Not really sure what the DGA is thinking here. That True Grit is second-tier Coens’ and therefore not worthy of a nod? We just gave the Coens an award in 2007 for No Country? The gifted brothers have perhaps been smiled upon enough, so enough already?

When I have arguments … er, passionate discussions … with other critics about The Social Network and I point out that it is not as good a film as Zodiac or Se7en or Fight Club, mostly what I hear back is something along the lines of, “Well, no, it’s not as good as FIGHT CLUB/SE7EN/ZODIAC! But it’s still good!”

Well, okay … so if The Social Network is not as good a film as Fight Club or Se7en or Zodiac then how is it NOT second-tier Fincher? Is Fincher deserving for The Social Network just because it’s performed well at the box office? Because it captures the (barf) cultural zeitgeist of our times so well?

Fincher was nominated (but did not win) in 2008 for Benjamin Button. It’s the only nom for film direction the DGA has given him (he was also nominated for Commercials in 2008 and won for Commercials in 2004). That’s it. He was not nominated for Zodiac (2007). Or Fight Club (1999). Or Se7en (1995).

Fincher will very likely win this year for The Social Network and, hell, probably sweep the Oscars too, and that just irritates the hell out of me. I didn’t hate Social Network, I was entertained by it … but it is just not Fincher’s best, not what I would have him recognized by his peers for. Social Network is second tier Fincher, while True Grit, for me, is first-tier Coens (though also not Fargo, not No Country).

You may disagree and think Social Network is the bees knees, the best thing since Facebook. And you won’t be alone. But you and I will have to agree to disagree.

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10 Responses to “No DGA Nod for Coens … Really?”

  1. edkargir says:


  2. Sam says:

    The problem is that The Social Network isn’t competing with Seven, Fight Club, or Zodiac. It’s competing with True Grit, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, etc. If it’s the movie that people are most excited by this year, then it deserves to win, even if it IS second-tier Fincher.

  3. manliano says:

    True Grit was the first Coen Brother’s film I didn’t even remotely appreciate. Coming off ‘A Serious Man’, which was brilliant, this was the biggest letdowns of 2010 for me. True Shit.

  4. Kim Voynar says:


    Agreed that A Serious Man was brilliant. Just wondering what your expectation going into True Grit was that they didn’t fulfill?

  5. Rodd Hibbard says:

    You’re not the only person on the planet not head-over-heels for the Social Network – I know many. So many I have wondered if the film has a particular American resonance, that we here, in Australia, don’t get. Not only are all the characters quite unattractive (does Aaron Sorkin dislike younger people), but, in my view (and that of many of my friends) there is a mysoginistic and racist element which I found quite disturbing. My friends and I do not understand why you love it soooooo much!!

  6. manliano says:

    Hi KV!

    My only expectation was to be entertained.

    This one was a major eye roller. Not only wasn’t I entertained, I also wasn’t interested, enthralled, captivated, or amused. Okay, I did chuckle once. When she came up with the name Lil’ Blackie….oh, if only the whole movie couldn’t be as sly. Watered down and generic Cohen’s! Proof is in the BO.

    Oh, and I also really didn’t like Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. I don’t blame her though. Again, I blame the directors.

    Guess they can’t all be classics, huh?

  7. Kim Voynar says:


    Fair enough. For me, TRUE GRIT falls nearer to the bottom of the top-tier Coens, but I still liked it. There aren’t a lot of Coen Brothers films I really don’t like or would consider second-tier for them. Intolerable Cruelty. The Ladykillers. Man Who Wasn’t There. Maybe Barton Fink. I actually quite liked both Burn After Reading (very underrated, IMO) and A Serious Man (ditto). And yes, I enjoyed TRUE GRIT.

    I thought Hallie Steinfeld was just terrific, though if I had to choose between her and Chloe Moretz for a young actress award, I’d give it to Moretz for both KICK ASS and LET ME IN.

  8. manliano says:

    I loved ‘Burn After Reading’ too. And I thought ‘A Serious Man’ was one of the very (maybe even THE) best movies of last year.

    Good call on Moretz. Both ‘Kick Ass’ and ‘Let Me In’ were just phenomenal in my view, and she deserves a lot of credit for not merely performing in them, but also adding something very fresh to both roles.

    I’ve never disliked any Cohen’s film before, but I honestly think ‘True Grit’ was just trash.

  9. Manuel L. says:

    “The Social Network” is the best film David Fincher has made so far, and deserving of all the praise it’s been getting. To me, “Zodiac” is terrific, “Se7en” is incredibly entertaining, and “Fight Club” is a bit overrated.

  10. jennab says:

    For me, True Grit felt…slight. Miss Steinfeld was suitably stoic & sassy, if a bit one-note. Was expecting epic sweep, there was none. But Bridges was brilliant.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon