Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 scored its second major guild victory of the awards season Saturday at the 72nd annual DGA Awards, cementing his spot as an Oscar Best Picture frontrunner in Director and Best Picture by winning the marquee feature film award.
The victory in a category that included four of this year’s five Oscar Directing nominees — Bong Joon-Ho for Neon’s Parasite, Quentin Tarantino for Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Martin Scorsese for Netflix’s The Irishman — came after the Universal film produced and financed by Amblin Partners and New Republic scored the top prize at the PGA Awards a week ago.
‘I want to tell a quick story I’ve never told before,” Mendes, who won this award in 1999 for American Beauty, said onstage at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. “My grandfather inspired this film, and he made me when I was 12 sign a contract promising I would write a novel by the age of 18. Obviously I’m not a freak, so I didn’t do that, but I did do this. So I want to say thank you for him for that.”
The DGA Awards are an important bellwether in the Oscar race — only seven times since the marquee Theatrical Feature Film award’s inception in 1949 has the winner differed from the eventual Oscar Directing winner. Last year was no exception: Alfonso Cuarón won for Roma and repeated the feat on Oscar night (though it lost Best Picture to Green Book). Cuarón was back tonight and presented the final award.
The other big winner tonight on the film side was Alma Har’el, who won the First-Time Feature Film directing award for Amazon’s Honey Boy, the movie that started as notes from Shia LaBeouf who was doing a writing assignment for his court-ordered rehab.
“Thank you to Shia for allowing me to tell this story for the children of alcoholics about forgiveness,” she said onstage. She added to her fellow female nominees in the category, Mati Diop and Melina Matsoukas, “Mati and Malina, you are the future.” She also referenced the recent open letter to the guild nudging them to fight for strong parental leave benefits.
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert also won tonight for their Netflix documentary American Factory, which is also up for an Oscar.
On the TV side, it was HBO that dominated with four of the 11 total categories on offer. Bill Hader repeated his Comedy Series win from a year ago for HBO’s Barry; Johan Renck repeated his Emmy directing win with Chernobyl in the TV Movie/Limited Series category; Nicole Kassell won for her episode of Watchmen to take Dramatic Series; and Amy Schatz won her sixth DGA Award for HBO Documentary Films’ Song of Parkland in the Children’s Program race.
Don Roy King meanwhile won his fifth DGA Award for Saturday Night Live‘s fall finale which featured host Eddie Murphy and musical guest Lizzo.
Here’s the full list of winners tonight:
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THEATRICAL FEATURE FILM
• Unit Production Managers: Callum McDougall, Hannah Godwin
• First Assistant Director: Michael Lerman
• Second Assistant Director: Joey Coughlin
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES
Watchmen, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”
• Unit Production Managers: Karen Wacker, Ron Schmidt, Joseph E. Iberti
• First Assistant Director: Keri Bruno
• Second Assistant Directors: Lisa Zugschwerdt, Ben White
• Second Second Assistant Director: Jessie Sasser White
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND LIMITED SERIES
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DOCUMENTARY
STEVEN BOGNAR and JULIA REICHERT
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF A FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR
• Unit Production Manager: David Grace
• First Assistant Director: Sean Vawter
• Second Assistant Director: Colin Flaherty
• Second Second Assistant Director: Sarah Balboa
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIALS
Dream It, Squarespace – Squarespace
• First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
The New Normal, Medmen – Mekanism
• First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
• Second Assistant Directors: David Marnell, Jeff Tavani
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY SERIES
• Unit Production Manager: Aida Rodgers
• First Assistant Director: Gavin Kleintop
• Second Assistant Director: Kevin Zelman
• Second Second Assistant Director: Heather Kehayas
• Additional Second Assistant Director: Mikaela Mathern
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMS
• Associate Director: Daniel Shultz
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIAL
(“All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” – Directed by)
(“Live in Front of a Studio Audience” – Directed by)
Live in Front of a Studio Audience Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’
• Associate Directors: Martin Pasetta Jr., Sara Niimi
• Stage Managers: John Esposito, Valdez Flagg, Alissa Levisohn Hoyo, Harvey Levine, Doug Tobin, Richard Silva, Jenny Nolan Bailey
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – REGULAR
DON ROY KING
Saturday Night Live, “E. Murphy; Lizzo”
King’s Directorial Team:
• Associate Directors: Michael Mancini, Mike Poole, Laura Ouziel-Mack
• Stage Managers: Gena Rositano, Chris Kelly
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS
Song of Parkland
(HBO Documentary Films)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Franklin Schaffner Award
Arthur E. Lewis
Frank Capra Achievement Award
Duncan S. Henderson