Fox Searchlight’s Birdman keeps cruising above the clouds. The consensus tonight was that the DGA belonged to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, given its 12 years in the making, however in a surprise win, Birdman’s Alejandro G. Inarritu won the DGA at its 67th annual ceremony, in the wake of key wins at the PGA, the SAGs, two Golden Globes (screenplay, best comedy actor Michael Keaton) as well as seven Critics Choice award wins. Birdman, in its story about a has-been Hollywood actor who tries to reboot his career by mounting a Broadway play, is clearly resonating with all facets of Hollywood. Tonight’s DGA awards was held at the Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City with the irreverent Jane Lynch hosting. DGA feature film directors historically see a repeat in the respective Oscar category, and possibly even a best picture win. Last year’s DGA winner, Alfonso Cuarón, went on to nab the directing Oscar for Gravity, however, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave took best picture. This DGA ceremony will go down as the year women roared with four big wins: Jill Soloway took best comedy series for her Amazon show Transparent, Lisa Cholodenko for HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge, Laura Poitras for Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour and Lesli Linka Glatter for her helming work on the Homeland episode “From A to B and Back Again.” Deadline’s Awards Columnist Pete Hammond will weigh in with his complete analysis later tonight. Here’s how the night went down:
Pete Hammond told me on the drive into the Grand Hyatt that the DGA feature film award winner has differed from the Oscars seven times since the first ceremony in 1948.
In 1968, Carol Reed won best director at the Oscars for Oliver, while Anthony Harvey won the DGA for The Lion in Winter.
Second time – 1972 when Bob Fosse won the directing Oscar for Cabaret while DGA went with The Godfather‘s Francis Ford Coppola.
DGA President Paris Barclay, dressed in a rule-breaking
white jacket with black lapels, opens tonight’s proceedings with a whoop:
“Let’s give it up for our nominees!”
He added that because the show is not televised “We’re going to be
breaking all the rules — like this white jacket!” On a more serious note, he praised the DGA’s new contract
and called 2015 a good time for directors. And he exhorted the winners to “Speak from the heart — in a
minute or two at most.”
DGA President Paris Barclay, dressed in a rule-breaking white jacket with black lapels, opens tonight’s proceedings with a whoop:“Let’s give it up for our nominees!” He added that because the show is not televised “We’re going to be breaking all the rules — like this white jacket!”
On a more serious note, he praised the DGA’s new contract and called 2015 a good time for directors. And he exhorted the winners to “Speak from the heart — in a minute or two at most.”
Third time was in 1985 when Steven Spielberg won the DGA for The Color Purple, and the Oscars went with Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa. Spielberg was overlooked by the Oscars that year in the category despite Color Purple rallying 11 noms. That’s another small trend with the DGA — they favor helmers who are overlooked by AMPAS, i.e. when Ben Affleck won the DGA for Argo in 2012.
Fourth time – 1995, when Ron Howard won the DGA for Apollo 13 and then the Oscars went with Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
Host Jane Lynch as she arrived at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Host Jane Lynch went for this awards season’s big issue — diversity — right off: She revealed that Paris Barclay wrote her opening song and called him “a bald gay African-American musical theater geek.” She noted that she herself is “a lady just over six feet tall. Between the two of us you’ve got about 80% of your diversity right here.”
Playing off Barclay’s opening joke about keeping your speech short, Lynch deadpanned: “When you reach two minutes Bradley Cooper will wing you from his perch.”
Fifth: In the year 2000 when DGA bestowed Ang Lee with the awards for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Oscars opted to go with Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. Sixth time was in 2002 when the DGA went with Rob Marshall for Chicago and Roman Polanski won the Oscar for The Pianist. And, of course, the seventh time was 2012 with Affleck winning the DGA for Argo while Ang Lee won the directing Oscar for Life of Pi. Tonight we could see a similar discrepancy tonight, especially if Clint Eastwood wins for American Sniper (especially since Oscar didn’t recognize him).
NICOLAI FUGLSIG wins in the commercial directing category for Sapeurs, Guinness,Waiting, FEMA.
January Jones presented the award saying because she acted on Mad Men, “she knows something about advertising”
They’ve paused the show…everyone is eating….
Unlike the PGAs, the DGAs have the courtesy to actually feed the press in the back pressroom. Last time, at the PGAs,all the boxed dinners were for the publicists working the show. :-(
All of the DGA noms match the Oscar directing noms this year except for Eastwood here tonight for American Sniper. He is replaced in the Oscars directing slot by Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
This evening isn’t about actors — but Taraji P. Henson, currently burning it up as star of the new hit drama Empire, will be presenting the award for Comedy Series after the directors finish their dinner. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her dining out on an Emmy nomination this year.
Quite the delay here at the show. There was all this talk by Paris Barclay about keeping the show on time,on track and acceptance speeches tight. And there’s just radio silence back here in the press room with Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” playing.
Tonight on the red carpet DGA nominee Mortem Tyldum spoke out his open letter to her Majesty in great Britain to pardon all those like Alan Turing who were convicted under the U.K.’s homophobic gross indecency law.
Mortem was one of the first signatures on the letter. Prince William and Kate Middleton refused signed the gay rights plea.
Said Tyldum about the Royals’ actions: “It’s hard for me to say. They’re British royalty so they are confined by what they can and can’t do. Obviously, there’s nothing for them to really pardon. They didn’t do anything wrong.” But there are other ways that the director’s film has impacted UK society, which speak volumes more than Kate & Bill. “I got an email from a 92-year old man who was wrongfully convicted and went to jail for the similar accusations against Alan Turing. He told me he saw the movie and thanked me for shining a light on this. Those (anti-gay) laws were called the blackmail laws. For so many gay men, the law was used as blackmail. It goes without saying that they should pardon anyone that was convicted by that law.”
There’s now a suitable break between the chicken cordon bleu and arugula salad….the announcer has called everyone back to their seats for the show to resume.
The one thing about the DGAs is that each nominated feature director gets a big, lengthy presentation from a distinguished person they’ve worked with. The speeches are so big, one walks away feeling like the nominee actually just won the award. It’s not like “Here’s a clip from the film”. Coming up — Bill Murray will present the DGA nomination to pal Wes Anderson; Michael Mann will present it to Alejandro G. Inarritu, Julie Delpy will praise Richard Linklater, Benedict Cumberbatch & Keira Knightley via video will present the DGA nom to Mortem Tyldum, while Bradley Cooper will present to Clint Eastwood.
OK — WE’RE BACK…here’s Jane Lynch…
Variation on a theme: Bringing the show back to life after diner, Jane Lynch gave a shout-out to nominee and personal pal Jill Soloway, nominated for Transparent, based on Soloway’s father’s real like transition from male to female. Lynch joked that after the transition, a man would be “100% happier” and get “27% less pay.”
IAt age 74, sitcom legend James Burrows (co-creator of Cheers with brothers Glen and Les Charles, among his many credits) gets a Lifetime Achievement award tonight from the DGA, presented by the Charles brothers. With plenty of irreverence, Glen Charles joked that the 10-time Emmy winner had “made more pilots than a hooker at an airport hotel.”
Taraji P. Henson taking the podium to present comedy series. “Heyyyy directors! I need a movie!!!”
Jill Soloway wins best comedy director for “Transparent”! On a roll after Golden Globe win. She just got her DGA card two weeks ago. “A great welcome gift” she calls it.
When he took his turn at the mike, James Burrows did a little schtick pretending to zip up his pants before launching a few zingers himself. Assuring the DGA that a lifetime award “does not mean that I’m retiring,” Burrows waxed nostalgic about his hits.
But he also mentioned the failure of his most recent sitcom The Millers. Calling the series featuring a gay son “a New York fairy tale — literally,” he quoted CBS president and CEO Les Moonves as saying: “No more Millers, it’s been ball.” He later said that everyone he mentioned in his speech should take it as a thank you: “Except for Moonves.”
Soloway had a public alert for the room: “ Somone pulled out their cell phone and a tiny bag with a joint dropped on the floor. It’s labeled ‘green crack’. If somebody finds the joint under your seat, bring it to the ‘Transparent’ table. Really seriously guys, if you find it, bring it to us.”
Soloway thanked host Jane Lynch who first brought the Transparent creator: “Thank you Jane. You walked me down the red carpet that time. Thank you woman for helping other women. We reach out and pull each other up. Let’s do it! We’re pulling each other up!”
Taraji P. vamping it up backstage with a more quiet Jill Soloway: “She won, I didn’t do nothin!”
Bill Murray presenting to tonight’s first nominee, his Rushmore director Wes Anderson: “I’m here tonight b/c I rec’d an exemption by the DGA to direct a small film years ago. I haven’t directed since, but I pay my dues every single year. And I have secretly been directing all that time. I didn’t think growing up, I could afford to pay the kind of dues we pay.”
Once the effervescent Henderson left the backstage microphone, Soloway spoke up, saying trans issues and trans individuals are everywhere these days. She called her show “transformative” (presumably no pun intended).
Jonathan Judge won for “100 Things to Do Before High School” in the Children’s Program category.
Children’s programming winner Jonathan Judge joked onstage that his show 100 Things to Do Before High School was intended to be like “a John Hughes film with a touch of Wes Anderson. We call what we do ‘less Anderson,’ but it works.”
Julie Gelfand’s family is studded with other directors, including her husband Gregg Gelfand. Accepting her award, she thanked Gregg for “his patience when I say: ‘I have to go to another DGA meeting.” Gelfand was awarded the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award tonight.
Variation on a theme: Bringing the show back to life after dinner, Jane Lynch gave a shout-out to nominee and personal pal Jill Soloway, nominated for Transparent, based on Soloway’s father’s real like transition from male to female. Lynch joked that after the transition, a man would be “100% happier” and get “27% less pay.”
Alejandro G. Inarritu receiving his DGA nomination for Birdman from Michael Mann: “It was a beautiful moment this morning, I came from shooting
y’day from Canada and I was a little bit crazy today. They were showing our clips and we were sharing our fears with the other nominated directors. I realized that in the last five years, I’m less and less interested in stories or performances. What’s more important in film is all the decisions we make…from the shoes a character wears, to the camera angle to every location. Every phase, every beat, all those
things obsess me now…the more I make films, the less I know. The less I know about it, the more I like. I don’t want to understand what it is to make a film. I just want to explore and play.”
Anthony B. Sacco wins Reality Programs for “The Chair”
David Diomedi wins for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
Glenn Weiss wins for “The 68th Annual Tony Awards”
Jokes Weiss: “I just got an award presented by Barbra Streisand — am I going to be the most popular guy on Broadway?” He called his work “theater on television.”
Will Inarritu shoot another film stylistically like Birdman? As one endless cut, with long takes? The helmer told Deadline“I don’t know if I have it in me. It was difficult. I wasn’t looking to shoot the film this way. It just came to me. (The inspiration) flowed from the part of the brain that wasn’t intellectually looking for it.”
What does Birdman all
mean? Inarritu told Deadline: “The actor as the representation of every human man who has a creative process. It’s about anyone with ambition, anything we feel; we try and fail, we question, we go deep, then we rise up again. I wanted Birdman to be an extension of that state of mind that every human being has been in his life, embodied in an actor.”
What’s the meaning of Birdman? Inarritu told Deadline: “The actor as the representation of every human man who has a creative process. It’s about anyone with ambition, anything we feel; we try and fail, we question, we go deep, then we rise up again. I wanted Birdman to be an extension of that state of mind that every human being has been in his life, embodied in an actor.”
Let’s see…it’s 9:20 and we’re only halfway through the awards. Is this going to be like one of Iñárritu’s endless cuts?…
Earlier, comedy series winner Soloway thanking her agency, ““UTA is a place where they want you to be an artist.” Hence the reason why ‘A’ means Artists.
Gotta hand it to the DGA for their break music in between awards..they just had a 15 minute break and played Astrud Gilberto’s “Girl From Ipanema.”
At age 74, sitcom legend James Burrows (co-creator of Cheers with brothers Glen and Les Charles, among his many credits) gets a Lifetime Achievement award tonight from the DGA, presented by the Charles brothers. With plenty of irreverence, Glen Charles joked that the 10-time Emmy winner had “made more pilots than a hooker at an airport hotel.”
Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater’s muse from Before Sunrise, presenting him his DGA nom, “I don’t think there’s anyone that loves movies more than Richard Linklater. …the words ‘Be natural’ resonate in Linklater’s work from Slacker to Boyhood.”
Boyhood director Richard Linklater in receiving his DGA nom: “Ilove the traditions and histories of the DGA. I remember joining many years ago when I was getting my card signed. I asked (a fellow rep) and the person advised ‘No, get your heros to sign it. Those who you’ve looked up to. So my DGA card is signed by Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich and Robert Altman….when I asked Peter Bogdonavich who signed his card, he said, ‘That would be John Ford, Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.”
Wonder why most Hollywood awards are statuettes while the DGA looks more like a giant penny?
Laura Poitras wins for best doc for “Citizenfour”
Benedict Cumberbatch is talking about via video about the open letter he drafted to the Royals about pardoning those punished by the UK blackmail law.
When presenter Jodie Foster came backstage with documentary winner Laura Poitras (whose doc “Citizenfour” focuses on Edward Snowden), she said nothing — just posed for the cameras. A bit of a disappointment for those of us remember her infamous coming out (or not) and retirement from acting to direct (or not) at 2013’s Golden Globes, where Foster gave her famously baffling, rambling speech about her future after receiving a Lifetime Award.
Imitation Game’s Mortem Tyldum on receiving his nomination: “Bennett Miller recently quoted Mike Nichols — ‘Directing is like sex. You never know if you doing it
right, or as well as the other guy.”
Lisa Cholodenko wins DGA award for best TV movie/miniseries for HBO’s Olive Kitteridge.
Did I miss something, or did Cholodenko manage to thank everyone responsible for Olive Kitteridge except star Frances McDormand? At least she gave credit where credit is due to the DGA for giving her a health plan that allowed for “all the therapy I can get.”
Like Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper is another actor who is just great with celeb imitations. He just won the crowd over with his best Eastwood impersonation, and even got a smile out of the American Sniper director. “It was a night shoot, during the rodeo with a crane and array of extras. we’re all sitting
around, trying to figure out how to do the shot. Clint picks up a magic black camera he was playing with. He gets on the ground and says, ‘Ok Bradley, why don’t you get behind me.”
Clint Eastwood accepting his DGA nom for American Sniper, “I got a life in this business and I’m not over with it yet.”
Eastwood: “Thank you members for nominating me. I feel flattered…I’m proud to be a member for 46 members. You nominated me a couple of times. I’m not being greedy up here. I love doing movies even when they paid my pension off here too early. I thought they were trying to tell me something.”
Photographer to Eastwood backstage, referring to his DGA nom award: “Can you please open it up?”
Leslie Linka Glatter wins for Dramatic Series for “Homeland”
Taking note of the fact that a lot of women are winning tonight: Leslie Linka Galler, Lisa Cholodenko, Laura Poitras — as Jane Lynch suggested earlier, congratulations on getting a DGA tonight and (perhaps) 27% less in their paychecks than their male competitors!
Spielberg just announced that the DGA is going to have a new award next year for first time film directors.
Last year’s DGA and Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron on stage, drumrolling the final award of the night….
Backstage, Glatter said it was “a good night for the gals. When women get up to bat, they do pretty well.” She said the job of the current crop of female directors is to “grab the hand of the next generation.”
And the recipient of the DGA’s feature film award is Alejandro G. Inarritu!!!!!! Birdman is the force to be reckon with this awards season.
presenting the award to Glatter, our humble host said the award would be presented by the “younger than springtime Jane Lynch.”
And circling back to Robert Butler, 87, and his Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Pierce Brosnan: The veteran director of the pilots for Star Trek, Hill Street Blues and many others was the portrait of charm accepting his award, including a nod to fellow winner James Burrows. “How about that commercial?” he crowed after watching a reel of his many credits. ‘I believe that what we storytellers do is rocket science. My glee tonight is due to all of you.”
Inarritu on his win for Birdman, “Making a film that’s good, it’s war and we have to survive it. If it is considered a great film, it has nothing to
do with me. It’s a miracle. A good film is beyond what you can do. I say that
humbly. I never expected to be here tonight talking to you. I said this because when
you go to bed and make love, you don’t say, let’s make the best children in
the world. They just come. There’s
no position to guarantee that. Sorry, I’m very gross. When something comes,
you’re just guiding it. I’m openly humble and the way we did this film was to risk.”
Circling back to Robert Butler, 87, and his Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Pierce Brosnan: The veteran director of the pilots for Star Trek, Hill Street Blues and many others was the portrait of charm accepting his award, including a nod to fellow winner James Burrows. “How about that commercial?” he crowed after watching a reel of his many credits. ‘I believe that what we storytellers do is rocket science. My glee tonight is due to all of you.”
Inarritu shares backstage that he’s wearing Raymond Carver’s shirt (which was a gift) and Billy Wilder’s tie.
Michael Keaton has emphasized in interviews how Birdman really isn’t an homage to him, rather the film is really about Inarritu. Backstage the director said, “I think it’s a film where I’m more naked than before. You can see me
more clearly. This film has this pureness. All of us have failed and we’re all connected.”
Inarritu on the state of filmmaking: “All of us (directors) have a unique perspective to connect with others. Not to make blockbusters…when everything becomes the standard language just to make money, the whole thing (cinema) loses meaning. That’s the danger we are in. The fact that many of the films nominated this year are personal voices, it’s a hope…It’s like we’re rescuing animals that are dying, we should rescue those directors who are trying to get their own voice out there to connect with others or else we’ll lose the whole meaning of this medium.”