Alfonso Cuarón took the top film honor tonight For Roma at the 71st Annual DGA Awards. Bo Burnham snagged the first-time director nod for Eighth Grade and Tim Wardle won for documentary feature for Three Identical Strangers.
Top TV awards went to Adam McKay for Succession, Bill Hader for Barry and Ben Stiller for Escape at Dannemora.
Don Mischer received the guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction.
Kathleen McGill and Mimi Deaton were honored with special awards tonight. McGill, a unit production manager, received the Frank Capra Achievement Award, and Deaton, an associate director, received the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award. Both awards are given in recognition of career achievement and service to the guild.
FX Networks, behind such series as Atlanta, Pose, Mayans M.C. and Snowfall, received the guild’s 2019 Diversity Award which has been bestowed only a handful of times in the DGA Awards’ long history.
Aisha Tyler was host of the awards at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles.
Here’s how it all went down.
Welcome to the DGA Awards, from a new venue: the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
I’ll be your guide for tonight’s directorial deluge, with my fellow Brit Antonia Blyth on point next to me.
Antonia, what’s your take on the nominations list? Who will walk away with top prize?
Maybe Boots Riley for first-time director?
He would seem to be the frontrunner for Roma, but it’s a funny year and an upset could be possible from anybody. This will be an important night for divining the Oscar tea leaves.
Absolutely. This combined with what we saw at Critics’ Choice and SAG will be pretty telling for the top spots of Best Picture and Best Director (obviously on the latter one)
The show kicks off with the customary montage moment running down the past 12 months in film and TV. Is there an awards show checklist for these things? If so, has the Academy misplaced its copy in recent months?
Siri tells me that the song this montage is set to is, “I can’t seem to recognize this song.”
And that’s as much pop culture knowledge as you’ll get out of me tonight.
I tried Shazam but it took too long
Thomas Schlamme, the president of the DGA, emerges.
“There’s nothing more meaningful than being recognized by your family,” he says of the DGA
“If your director is called tonight you are invited, actually expected to join them and come up on stage,” he says to stage managers, AD et al
“the world is a divided and often dangerous place,” says Schlamme as he passes on his thoughts to Jussie Smollet for a speedy recovery.
“The work that we do and the meaning that it carries for audiences feels all the more important right now” he adds
Over 17,000 members of the DGA will enjoy a picture of Nora Ephron on their DGA cards this year!
The industry is “A closed, dated ecosystem that disadvantages women and people of color at every level,” he says. “It’s something the DGA has been working to change.”
TV is changing he says, but in feature film, 9% women and 8% people of color.
The DGA are developing a feature director mentorship initiative modelled after their “highly successful” TV program to change the culture and bring equality and diversity….
Here comes Aisha Tyler with a political intro from Schlamme…
“On with the show!” Schlamme says. “Criminal Minds and Friends – that’s not just a nickname for the Trump administration, but two of the many projects our host this evening has been a part of….
“As a newly minted member of the DGA, I’m here with my peers to celebrate my craft and do what we directors do best, which is to dress up and congratulate ourselves on how brilliant we are, while other people bring us room temperature food,” she says.
“I think we all know how f***ed up shit is. I don’t want to remind you and ruin your weird fish dinner. So I’ll summarize our weird political climate this way dumpster fire, we’re all swimming in fecal matter so everybody start f***ing because we’re all going to die. News at 11.” Thanks for the cheery note Aisha
“It’s been a shocking year, as people we all knew were total f-cking scumbags are finally exposed for being total f-cking scumbags. Honestly, for me, it’s a real relief to know that if you work with a jerk and you bring it up to peers and HR and anyone who will listen, eventually Mia Farrow’s son will track down 20 other people who say the exact same thing and he’ll publish a piece about it and people will finally, maybe, believe you.”
Spike Lee- wearing a natty red hat – rolls his eyes comically in the audience when she makes the Ronan Farrow comment and everyone laughs
This is a ribald speech. Probably the most unfettered we’ve witnessed this season.
“We’ve got five white guys, two black guys and two Latino guys. I love the smell of a multi-ethnic swordfight in the morning!”
“There’ve never been more opportunities for us directors to make our mark on this business, on the culture, and on the world.” She quotes George W. Bush, “The pie is literally higher for all of us.” She says of Bush, “You all f-cking miss him now, don’t you? He was dumb but he was cute dumb.”
“Not like a ‘We’re all going to die’ dumb.”
She gets serious on diversity. “This isn’t about quotas or charity, because this has never been a fair business. It’s about bringing unique points into the storytelling arena so we don’t keep making the same films over and over and over again.”
“It’s about making our business as robust and vigorous and as intensely challenging as we can make it”
“Making a movie is f-cking hard, bro. It requires passion, dedication and vision. And intense willingness to let some dude drive you to and from work every day, while someone else cuts the crust off the sandwich, and a third person yells ‘action’ and ‘cut’ for you so you can save your vocal chords for some super important art or sh-t.”
Alfonso is laughing in the audience at the bit about someone else saying cut “and s**t”
She shouts out the ADs, and the UPMs, and the production managers, and “that other guy”.
Tyler is so happy to be a DGA member. “Man the insurance is so f***ing good Holy shit. F**k that SAG shit, Holy f***ing shit a $50 co-pay. What the f**k?….is this insurance or a shakedown?”
She really got the crowd riled up with that speech. Turns out swearing really is hilarious.
Tony Hale emerges to present Children’s Programming
Tyler is so happy to be a DGA member. “Man the insurance is so f***ing good Holy shit. F**k that SAG shit, Holy f***ing s**t a $50 co-pay. What the f**k?….is this insurance or a shakedown?”
A Series of Unfortunate Events is dominating here with three noms.
But they can’t pull off the win…
WINNER – CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS – Jack Jameson – When You Wish Upon a Pickle, a Sesame Street Special
He thanks the entire cast and crew “both human and muppet”.
OK we’re into the medallions. These are awarded to each of the five feature film nominees. Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira emerge to fete Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. “He uses his skill as a director and master storyteller to present a vivid cinematic portrait to inspire empathy,” says de Tavira.
“Yalitza’s mother is a domestic worker, and she dedicates her performance to her and thanks Alfonso for shining a light on a character that is often in the shadows,” de Tavira translates for Aparicio.
“Thank you, thank you Alfonso, for employing your specific point of view for audiences in this divided time,” says de Tavira as Alfonso steps up.
“Oh I have a teleprompter, this is amazing,” discovers Cuaron.
He thanks the DGA, and everyone laughs because he’s discarded the sheet. “Somehow I got there very quickly, telepathically.”
He thanks Billy Wilder and his ‘brothers’ Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro. He says he stands on the shoulders of the masters of cinema. “I also stand here on the shoulders of my DGA team.”
He takes a moment to thank the achievement of his ADs.
“The true cinema wilfully ignores walls, both real and imagined,” Cuaron says, nodding to Trumpian politics. “There are more than 70 million domestic workers in the world, that number doesn’t include children. In the end, Roma was a story about one of them.” Many were migrants, “and when we villianize them, call them criminals and rapists, we diminish ourselves. This isn’t about politics, this is about humanity.”
Constance Wu comes on to present to Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (Regularly scheduled and specials Series)
WINNER – Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (regularly scheduled programming): Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live “Adam Driver; Kanye West”
“One quick aside,” King says, “I noticed Stan Lathan is a presenter tonight and Stan and I were in a play together in 1967. I had one line, which was, ‘Who me?'”
This is King’s 13th DGA nom and he credits Michael Poole as, “The finest AD in television” before thanking his daughter Cameron who’s studying directing, for telling him who the musical guests are each week, “so I can pretend to know who they are”
WINNER – Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (Specials): Louis J. Horvitz, The 60th Grammy Awards
It’s an directors’ award for a director of an awards show!
Horvitz: “I don’t have any funny things to say, but thank you to my sisters and brothers for 40 years in the DGA…thank you for the affirmation on this particular show, it was a tough one.”
This is his 19th DGA nom.
Mike M in the comments wonders why the DGA isn’t livestreaming the awards. It’s a good question, Mike, but fear not. We’ll have video from all the key speeches.
“I came tonight for one reason and that is to celebrate the Lifetime Achievement winner Don Mischer”
PS, do feel free to jump in on comments – we’ll highlight the best (and most complimentary to us) ones!
Ron Howard: “Not for nothing but I still yell, “Action and cut”
Ron Howard comes out to present the Frank Kapra Award to Kathleen McGill.
She’s a UPM on films like X-Men and Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, if the name is unfamiliar.
She also did Da Vinci Code and Frost/Nixon, Howard notes. A Beautiful Mind, “kind of describes Kathy.”
“That’s the look she always wore when she had pulled off the really tricky s**t. I realize I had been McGilled” Howard recalls of a particular time working with McGill.
Kathleen McGill takes to the stage.
McGill gets a standing ovation as she wipes away a few tears on the podium
“The acceptance speech of this season always includes a thank you to my team, and for the Frank Capra award it is truly appropriate. I would not be here without all the tlaented teams I’ve worked with over the years.”
cadavra notes I misspelled Frank Capra my first time out the gate there. You’re right – it’s a fast moving evening, I am penning my resignation forthwith.
“When any of us succeed,” McGill says, it is the DGA leadership “guiding us on.”
Aisha Tyler is back: “How much of f***ing rockstar is Kathleen McGill?”
Todd Phillips is presenting to Bradley Cooper for Best Feature medallion because Sam Elliott is “having issues with the rain at his house in Malibu”
Antonia is also having trouble with the rain in her house, but not in Malibu. Somewhere less fancy.
“I just texted someone to check that it was true and they said it was….I haven’t needed to wear a tuxedo in ten years. I don’t get those kinds of invites”
Thanks for bringing that up Joe. Yeah Silverlake is sinking
This is how dedicated Antonia is to the Deadline liveblog. Her house might literally be falling down right now.
Phillips talks about Cooper’s dedication (bet his house isn’t falling down)
Phillips recalls working with Cooper on the Hangover trilogy, and says A Star is Born feels “handmade beautiful and intimate. It’s something a lot of filmmakers have to work at, but it seems to come naturally to Bradley.”
As a Brit, incidentally, I marvel at how Angelenos pay no mind to earthquakes, but as soon as a drop of rain falls the entire city sinks.
Also as a Brit (we’re taking over Deadline apparently) I enjoy how driving ceases to ‘work’ in this city when it’s wet
“Table 62, that’s the reason I’m up here” Cooper says, referring to his whole team
He remembers his time toasting Clint Eastwood and David O. Russell at this event. Being here as a director means something to him, he says.
When Tommy called him he “got off the phone quickly, because I started crying” Cooper says
“I just can’t believe I’m a part of this group. I can’t believe I’m a part of this guild.”
“Intimacy is what I love about this,” Cooper says. “The intimacy in films, watching as a child, feeling like a part of it. What I didn’t know was that was the experience of making it as well….that’s the goal, it’s the humanity of making film. I have so much joy that I get to do this for a living. I’ll tell you something: I’m never going to stop.” So more to come from him then, clearly.
Aisha Tyler is back. “Where does Bradley Cooper get off being so f–king lovely and charming? I mean it’s bad enough that looking at his face is like looking directly into the sun, but then he’s got to be passionate and sweet and devoted. Whatever! Whatever, blue eyes.”
She steals Judd Apatow’s idea of going to directors to get their advice (she called herself out – but this is literally what he did last year, a little video piece)
Barry Sonnenfeld, Ben Stiller, Bill Hader, Lesli Linka Glatter, Bradley Cooper, Diane Reid and Adam McKay in the Skype-recorded video. It isn’t as funny as Judd Apatow’s, but lots more pearls of directorial wisdom.
Brian Tyree Henry comes on stage to present for Reality
WINNER – Best Reality Program: Russell Norman, The Final Table “Japan”
“To do the best job in the world, I’m sure you’ll agree, to direct these shows, is absolutely fantastic,” Norman says as he recalls serving British tea in London and never believing he’d be here in “the mighty Hollywood”
This is the second British winner of the night. We’re having an osmotic effect.
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are on stage to present best comedy series
“Is there anyway the video with directorial advice can be uploaded?” asks Anonymous in comments. We’re checking!
WINNER – Best Comedy Series: Bill Hader, Barry “Chapter One: Make Your Mark”
Bill Hader is a happy bunny. “I accept this on behalf of all the other directors who worked on the show,” he says. He also shouts out fellow nominee Hiro Mirai, “Who is a f-cking genius.”
“Be nice to your PAs” he says, remembering his time on the low rung of the ladder.
Paris Barclay, a previous DGA president comes on stage. “It’s good to be back” he says, then segues into….. “bring Barack back!”
“Across all of the diversity committees,” Barclay says. “We worked hard to highlight the work of our members…that’s where I first learned of the power of solidarity and the commitment to changing minds that could happen…you probably heard that half of the Directors’ Guild are women and minorities” He also recalls the DW Griffith award and how he’d be embarrassed to offer that to Spike Lee today. “I’m sure he’d accept it gracefully, though.”
Barclay is here to present the DGA Diversity award to FX. It’s only been awarded five times total. “In the most recent television season, 53% of their directors were women and people of color, ” Barclay says. “So they looked around and they made the effort and they went from 12% to 53%…” FX is he says “a shining example of how one institution can change their culture.”
Antonia’s typing fingers are on fire.
John Landgraf: “I hope each and every one of you get to have the opportunity to be in a room with more people you respect and admire than any room you’ve ever been in, and have them stand. It’s remarkable,” he says of the standing O.
Landgraf thanks journalist Maureen Ryan for exposing the poor standard of diversity at FX in a Variety piece and causing them to change their approach. “Facts don’t lie,” he says humbly. They used the piece as a jumping off point, “We decided to see what would happen if we saw diversity as an obligation, and more importantly as an opportunity.”
“Real change is possible. You just have to do it.”
He says maintaining the numbers is a challenge as the directors he gave platforms for at FX are being persued by other networks. He thanks “all media outlets for their commitment to their jobs at a time when real news is labelled as fake news.” He asks for a round of applause for Mo Ryan.
“Deep thanks to Ryan Murphy for his extraordinary efforts in diversity and his Half initiative.”
“I echo Paris when I say I hope the day will finally arrive when diversity awards will become a thing of the past.”
Christian Bale is coming out to fete Adam McKay. Of playing Cheney, he says, “If I hadn’t already worked with Adam and seen how he could make mortgage-backed securities entertaining, I’d have said, ‘Thanks very much, but you must be joking.’ Or, as Cheney would have said, ‘Go f–k yourself.'”
Bale tees up a clip of Vice, the film “made by my friend,” he says. “The Bush to my Cheney. As a director, maybe he’s more the Cheney to my Bush, I don’t know….”
There’s really quite a lot of swearing going on tonight. I wonder if directors are particularly sweary folk…
Mind you I’d say the majority of it is coming from Aisha Tyler…
Adam McKay comes up and wishes Bale a happy birthday. “It was actually three days ago, and he shares a birthday with Dick Cheney. I am not kidding.” Bale: “And we celebrated together.” McKay: “They were at Chuck-E-Cheeses together.”
“The joke online was that’s how method Christian is”
McKay: “We chased this guy over five decades and 200 locations. We had 200 speaking parts. Constant make-up and wardrobe changes. Our entire filmmaking team lived with the layers of corruption, war, patriotism that in many ways characterise America over the last 50 years. We could feel the weight of it. It doesn’t exactly make you skip to set every day.”
“We were talking about this earlier today at our symposium: There is nothing more magical and amazing than witnessing 125 people working in concert with each other,” McKay says.
McKay; “As concerned as I’d get about the state of our batsh-t crazy world, I’d look around me and see this spirit of creativity and problem-solving.”
He forces his entire directorial team to stand and take a bow.
“You figured out how to build Saddam’s palace and the Supreme Court within 20 feet of each other,” he notes of his production designer. And then he thanks Plan B with a Fitzcarraldo reference about dragging the boat over the mountain. Gotta love Adam McKay.
I think he’s running through every credit on the movie. But he’s doing it quickly, so it’s OK.
“27% of the workforce was in unions in the 70s and now it’s 6%.” says McKay. “We’ve held it here with the DGA.”
Another Skype bit from Aisha Tyler. Maybe we can catch this one. Boots Riley, Adam McKay, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bradley Cooper, Bo Burnham, Barry Sonnenfeld, Lesli Linka Glatter and Bill Hader in this one.
There’s a fire alarm going off in the press room right now. Nobody is moving. This could end poorly. Christian Bale and Adam McKay just stepped in the room too. They’re telling us to standby
Stan Lathan is here to present the Franklin Schaffner Award to Mimi Deaton
If this all goes south, nobody steal my stuff.
“That’s a metaphor for our culture right there,” says McKay of the alarm. He’s remarkably unalarmed.
Deaton is a fist AD and Director. “I know being a director who happens to be black that that’s a nasty-ass ride,” Lathan says, speaking about diversity he continues, “Do the right thing.”
“What is happening to us? We’re all mad people,” says McKay backstage as the alarm continues to blare and he stands with Bale having his photo taken.
Although I note that, photos done, they’re now beating a hasty retreat.
Deaton accepts the award on stage saying, “woah that’s heavy”
OK the alarm has stopped. We will NOT DIE TONIGHT.
She recalls working with James Burroughs. “Within weeks Jim’s producers needed someone for a pilot. Lucky me.” She recalls working for years on The Facts of Life, a show that was so meaningful for girls. and “100 episodes of kids shows which are as hard to do as people say they are.” Now she’s on a show The Neighborhood and says “yay” as she announces it was renewed for a second season.”
We think someone was smoking out the open front door.
“As DGA members we share our knowledge, we support, we include, we promote, we empower.”
PS, shout out to our lovely editor Denise Petski whose concern for the alarm was all about whether we should do a breakout story. Love you Denise!
Just kidding, Denise really is the glue that keeps us together.
We’d write a great story on the evacuation though, obviously
Dennis Haysbert is here to present Best Commercial Director
Dennis Haysbert was an amazing fictional president in 24. More believable than the current one?
Um I’d be more believable than this one
WINNER – Commercials: Spike Jonze “Welcome Home”, Apple Homepod
Spike Jonze shouts out his team on table 39. “Thomas Smith, my first AD, has been in my corner since I was 24 years old. He’s in my head and knows what I need before i need it. He’s a mentor. He also can control the weather with his mind.”
Jonze recalls him driving to a shot that needed a clear sky as the rain was pouring. “it’s OK,” said Thomas, “They’re clearing it out for us.” Sure enough, when they got there the rains ceased.
There’s now a montage of classic movie clips with director surnames at bottom. Great movies all.
And it;s for the first time feature award. The last clips are the past three recipients. Alex Garland, Garth Davis, Jordan Peele. Peele is presenting.
Peele: “I’m proud to present the award I was humbled to receive last year from the DGA. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to receive this honor. Afterwards every day for months I would look up at this award on the mantle and let it soak in….this award was really the nicest way to say ‘Not Best Director'”
“That shoudln’t take anything away from the five of you that have made amazing films. That is of course after we disqualify the many, many directors who have simply directed more than one film before this year. But once those directors are discarded, and it really is most of them – not all, but a vast majority – that is everyone from Alfonso Cuaron to the guy who made Sharknado 17, they simply don’t qualify. But other than them, you five really do qualify as the best directors of the year.
Jordan Peele so hilarious you have to capture every word. “You’re getting something even more than being nominated tonight, which is enormous expectations. Astronomical.”
Bradley Cooper is the only nominee here who is also in the Feature Film list. Will he win this as compensation for missing out on the big one later? And if he loses, will he win at the end? Will he win both? All these questions have no answers yet.
cadavra points out Antonia spelled James Burrows name wrong. Our bad. We are both fired.
Anyone want to comment on something other than the terrible attention to detail we’re displaying tonight?
WINNER – Best First-Time Feature: Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
I loved Eight Grade so I’m thrilled with this win. But the Bradley Cooper questions remain.
Well, some of them.
“I really didn’t think this was mathematically possible, so please forgive my lack of preparation,” Burnham says. “I was just going to be happy with that golden chair—a thrilling use of union money.” He’s referring to the mini gold chairs on the table settings tonight.
“We threw a pool party. So few kids drowned. And that’s because of them,” Burnham jokes of his directorial team.
Dolores Huerta is coming up to present the documentary category. Thomas Schlamme credits her “tireless work pushing for civil rights and equality”
Dolores gets a huge standing ovation. “As an advocate for labor and the rights of workers, women, our LGBT community and civil rights, I understand how important documentaries are. They shine a light on so many things in the human condition. People who are underrepresented, situations that are unjust, and those who strive to affect change.”
“We know we have a lot of work yet to do. For each of these movements, people who make documentaries have been active to make sure people mobilize. Without them, the movements would be forgotten. They would be lost to history.”
Jakeem in comments asks “Are the two other members of ‘The Three Amigos’ in the house?” Guillermo is here, Jakeem, and will present the final award, because he won it last year. I’m looking forward to one of his bear hugs later, if I’m lucky. Alejandro, I believe, is off making something exciting…
Won’t you be my Neighbor and Three Identical Strangers are both on the list but were shut out of Oscars, will this be their chance?
WINNER – Documentary: Tim Wardle, Three Identical Strangers
That’s correct Antonia, and Three Identical Strangers wins here, over the three that are on the Academy’s list. Interesting win.
Wardle seems absolutely shocked. He says “we ended up incredibly square kids” because his parents were super laid back, but they wouldn’t let them watch tv and films, so he thanks them for “giving him something to rebel against”
Three Identical Strangers is made by British house RAW, headed by Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, who made the brilliant films The Imposter and American Animals.
He thanks the families of the triplets who were incredibly separated at birth. It was cut in 18 weeks. “My wife is convinced we were having an affair, we spent so much time in the edit together.”
Wardle says to Spike Lee: “Do the Right Thing changed my life, man.”
The BlacKkKlansman team, John David Washington, Laura Harrier and Topher Grace, come out to fete Spike Lee with his medallion.
Antonia is now counting down the remaining awards. She may be a little tired.
Well actually I have finger cramp from typing but it’s all in a day’s work etc etc
My house is literally falling down Joe
Yes yes, we’ve covered that already.
The BlacKkKlansman montage includes the Charlottesville footage at the end of the film. A powerful reminder of its timely relevance. It released on the one year anniversary of the Unite the Right riot and the murder of Heather Hayer.
Lee shouts out his directorial team, including Mike Ellis who worked on Do The Right Thing too. He also thanks editor Barry Brown, “Who got his first motherf–king nomination.” Loudly, he runs down all of his films that Barry cut, in disbelief. Also his composer, also his first nomination. Adam Driver, first nomination. (He’s referring to the Academy Awards). He asks the real subject, Ron Stallworth, to stand, he does to a round of applause. To Focus he says, “You guys are doing it, you’re doing a damn thing. I appreciate it.”
A rousing speech from Spike. “1989 was Do The Right Thing. 2019 was BlacKkKlansman. 1619, my ancestors were stole from Africa and landed in Jamestown, 400 years ago. I get my power from the ancestors. They worked from can’t-see at morning to can’t-see at night. They built this motherf-cker. That’s where I get my power from, because no matter what trials or tribulations I go through, it’s nothing compared to what my ancestors did, where any moment, on the whim of master, you could you whipped, beaten, castrated, hung, and if master was having a bad day, you’d get all three.”
“George Washington had slaves, Thomas Jefferson was a pedophile, sally Hennings was 13 years old. This is history and we have to learn from that. If young people aren’t taught the truth of this country we’re going to do the same things again and again.”
Another skype bit from Aisha Tyler. Alfonso’s in this one with the others.
Sarah Paulson is here to present Movies for Television and Limited Series. “We’re willing to watch wherever we are, however we can,” Paulson says of the way we watch TV on our devices now.”
WINNER – Movies for Television and Limited Series: Ben Stiller, Escape at Dannemora
Stiller: “This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been wanting to become a director since I was eight years old, I’ve bene in the DGA since 1992 or ’93”
He’s so proud to be a part of the nominees, “although we’re not going to win a diversity award any time soon” he says
“Nobody else wanted to take a chance on it,” Stiller says of his limited series, even though Showtime might not have known that when they picked it up. “I want to thank my agent for lying to Showtime,” he says, getting a good laugh from everyone.
Here come Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini to fete Peter Farrelly, missed off the Academy’s list.
Mortensen: “This is a cinematic accomplishment that will stand the test of time”
Mahershala Ali says Farrelly said to him, “‘If you see something that I could do better, if you have a suggestion, if something makes you uncomfortable, pull me aside if you want to talk about it.’ I want to thank you for creating an environment that was inclusive, that was inspired and was collaborative. I love you brother.”
Cardellini: “He can make you laugh, up until he makes you cry. Pete has a huge heart. His openness his humility, his honesty, and his compassion make him an extraordinary director and a human being.”
That win for Escape at Dannemora follows on from Globes success. Expect to see it again come Emmy time.
Farrelly shouts out Chloe Zhao and Nadine Labaki in his speech.
Farrelly comes on stage. “I’m so grateful, I can’t tell you,” he says, before thanking all the other nominees in the Feature Film category. He also tells us all to watch Chloe Zhao’s The Rider – one of my personal faves and great of him to make sure to mention women filmmakers here.
“We really didn’t know anything but we convinced Jim Carrey we were the right guys to direct it even though we didn’t know a damn thing,” says Farrelly of his first film as a director with his brother Bobby. He remembers spending three days shadowing John Singleton.
“The honey wagon, that’s the toilets, but to us that was Craft Services,” Farrelly jokes
“In fact at craft service, they had honey. My brother goes up to a guy and says, ‘What do you do?’ And he goes, ‘Honey Wagon.’ My brother goes, ‘Awesome, man. It’s spectacular.'”
Jon Favreau is laughing his ass off in the audience, as is everyone else
Farrelly makes a big deal of the importance of his directorial team. It’s a real love-in tonight. “It’s all about these guys,” he insists.
This man is now telling endless stories about his time on set. I wish I had the finger dexterity to capture them all, because they’re great. But with any luck our video wizards are on it.
“I want to remind you, when we talk about diversity, don’t forget about disability. 10% of the country is disabled and only 1% of them is working,” Farrelly signs off with.
Tyler introduces Quincy Jones, recalling his trumpet playing in his early years, all the way to the inauguration of Obama, his activism has been “blazing a path that we all need to follow”
A standing ovation for a master as Quincy Jones emerges to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Don Mischer. “Y’all know how to party, don’t you?” he says.
Jones: “He’s earned his DGA Lifetime Achievement Award by bringing his creative vision, his heart and his soul to so many events that have defined our lifetimes.”
As Farrelly gets his photo taken solo backstage, Ali and Mortensen give one another a big hug. They’ve become a close team this season.
Someone in the press room shouted “We need a part two.” Ali nodded sagely and seemed to suggest it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Shirley and Tony Lip had a lifelong friendship; could there be more stories to tell?
A montage of the live events Don Mischer directed notes just how many classic Oscar shows, Olympics and other momentous occassions he has overseen.
A massive standing ovation now for Mischer.
“I could not be more proud to call this man my friend,” Jones says, as Mischer takes the stage.
“I was nine years old when television came to my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. My dad took me to a basketball arena for this first live broadcast,” Mischer remembers. “It was rimmed with dozens of television sets on which we could see the live broadcast as it was happening. I was riveted and it planted a seed for me that lasted a lifetime.”
“It was exciting for me to be a young boy coming of age as television was coming of age…it seemed to invite creativity….I was really inspired and wanted to create my own shows. So when I was 12 I built a fantasy TV studio in my garage using old sheets.”
“The neighbors called me, ‘That strange Misher kid.’ Despite the admonitions of my father, I began to wonder, might I be able to make a living in television?” He says it’s hard to put into words how it feels to be in front of these people, “and know that I’m actually included with you. It’s a remarkable feeling.”
He finishes with a long story about the opening of the Salt Lake City Olympics, five months after 9/11. The torch had to be a key moment, but it only had 12 minutes of fuel. They rehearsed and got it done in 5 minutes, felt comfortable. But in the euphoria of the actual moment, the skaters they’d asked were milking the moment and the handovers. His wife filmed him as he directed the scene, and worried the fuel would run out. They play the video. “Move goddamn it,” the video shows him shouting. “Could they go any slower? They’re redefining speed skating! Tell them to hustle up the damn aisle!”
It’s a great bit of behind-the-scenes action on directing live events. “All on camera,” his wife is heard to giggle.
“We did make it,” Misher says. “And thank you very much!”
Don Misher there, perfectly directing a Lifetime Achievement speech. Masterful.
Ok two more awards to go.
Octavia Spencer is here to present Dramatic Series. “Thee is no shortage of drama in our world today, on and off screen,” she says. In the past Scorsese and Patty Jenkins have been winners in this category
WINNER – Dramatic Series: Adam McKay, Succession
So Adam McKay, nominated for the Feature Film prize, walks away with the Drama TV prize. Can he double up?
McKay thanks Amy Lauritsen, his first AD, and HBO “who let us shoot on film” which was “really, really cool.” He also thanks Jesse Armstrong who “wrote the heck out of this show.”
Aisha: “Delightfully, or mercifully, it is time for the final award of the evening.” Out comes Guillermo del Toro. “Thank you for inviting me back again,” he says. “This is the award that I personally feel means the world to directors to be recognized by your peers.”
WINNER – Feature Film: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
So now we know how the directors are seeing the field. Alfonso gets a big hug from his fellow nominees, and Viggo Mortensen, as he steps up. His entire team comes up and he gets one of those big hugs from Guillermo. “If there are miracles I appreciate in life it’s these, in which I get to receive the award from Guillermo. Guillermo, gracias cabron. You are my film career you know.” “Yes,” says Guillermo, “And catering.” “That too.”
Cuaron: “Thank you so much DGA. I want to acknowledge the other directors nominated tonight. Peter, man, it’s been an amazing thing to reconnect. This journey takes you into reconnecting with people. Adam, never met you before, but this has been great. Spike, mi maestro. You keep on being my master. Where’s Bradley? Man. Thank you.”
“Roma simply doesn’t exist without the generosity of spirt and effortless grace of Yalitza and Marina. They somehow with the rest of my beautiul cast managed to bring to life this film from my memory.”
“My phenomenal DGA crew. They build this film from inside out. They were reliving a memory of their own. Obviously my producing partners, Gabriela Rodriguez and Nico Celis who were my support system. I have to thank the support and glorious stupidity of Participant Media and Netflix.”
“I want to thank the DGA not only for honoring us tonight but for their continuous efforts to honor diversity. It’s an a amazing job that the DGA is doing….they are challenging the problem by being part of the solution and to that I said, ‘Bravo Cabrones'”
“Finally I want to acknowledge Libo, my father and mother in Mexico, and finally my country. And I can’t do anything in my film life without Guillermo.” Guillermo spins his hand like he’s turning a rattle in his hand.
“I just really want to sneak in to that hug, I’d pay money to have Alfonso call me ‘cabron’,” Tyler says as she signs off. “Have fun getting your car at valet. You’re boned. Good night.”
Oh god, we valeted didn’t we, Antonia? You insisted…
We’re going straight to the hotel bar, forget the car
The show is over but let’s wait and see what Alfonso says backstage…
Guillermo comes backstage with Alfonso, both looking ecstatic.”Hola!” shouts Guillermo to the photographers
“Actually he read the wrong name” Alfonso jokes, pointing at Guillermo
Thomas Schlamme joins the party backstage and it’s hugs all round
“We’ll see you at the Oscars” a photographer says and Alfonso nods and gives us all a wave
“It’s just one of those things that are completely unreal,” Alfonso tells Joe backstage afterward. “It’s one of those miracles of life. Your brother, not only in life, but also in film is the one giving you the award. It’s one of the things that’s touched me the most, and also because it’s the second time in this process. The first was Venice,” he says, referring to when Guillermo was President of the Jury that awarded the Golden Lion to Roma. “We made an agreement not to talk for three weeks,” he said, to ensure that the jury process was fair. “And I have to say, when I saw him and he gave me the Golden Lion, I just grabbed him because finally for me, the quarantine was over.”
That’s all folks! Thanks for joining us.