Morris recognized for Wormwood, which failed to qualify for Oscars; Jane and Faces Places don't make cut
The Directors Guild of America threw a curve into awards season Wednesday, announcing surprise choices for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in documentary.
Errol Morris earned a nomination for his work on the Netflix documentary Wormwood, which the Motion Picture Academy previously ruled ineligible for Oscar consideration, deeming it a multi-part work and not a single film. The Academy's decision chagrined Morris, who had cut a roughly four-hour version with intermission for release in theaters.
Also recognized by the DGA was the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 10-part miniseries The Vietnam War, which aired on PBS.
Wormwood is being snubbed by the Academy, by the documentary branch of the Academy.
Matthew Heineman earned his second straight DGA Award nomination for directing City of Ghosts, his documentary on citizen journalists who risked death to report on the ISIS takeover of Raqqa, Syria. He won the DGA Award for his 2015 Mexican drug war documentary Cartel Land.
Also making the grade with the DGA was Bryan Fogel, director of Icarus, a documentary that blew the lid off Russia's state-sponsored athletics doping program. The film was cited by the International Olympics Committee in its decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, as punishment for the doping scheme.
Steve James earned a DGA Award nomination for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, his story of the only bank to be targeted for criminal prosecution as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.
The DGA did not recognize with nominations two of the leading contenders for Academy Awards: Brett Morgen's Jane, about the primatologist Jane Goodall, and Faces Places, by Agnès Varda and the artist JR, who toured France to connect with people in out-of-the-way villages.
Jane and Faces Places have won many of the documentary awards this season, and both made the Oscar shortlist.
The 70th Annual DGA Awards will be presented Saturday, February 3 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.