UPDATED WITH ALL WINNERS AND SPEECHES: The 65th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards dinner was held tonight at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film was won by Ben Affleck for Argo. “I don’t think this makes me a real director. But I think it means I’m on my way,” he said. This DGA category has traditionally been one of the industry’s most accurate barometers of who will win the Best Director Academy Award – but Affleck was not nominated by the Oscar’s Directors Branch. When asked backstage by Deadline if he thinks the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences wishes it had nominated him for a directing Oscar, Affleck stayed classy: “I have nothing but respect for the Film Academy. I’m also very grateful to the DGA. I mean, you’re not entitled to anything in life. I’m thrilled and honored that the academy nominated me as a producer for the movie. Maybe taking me out of [the director race] helps give us purpose, because it’s just about that movie as a picture.”
Only six times* since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the Feature Film winner not gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award. Also nominated by the DGA but not by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences were Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Tom Hooper (Les Miserables). Affleck was the only one of tonight’s DGA nominees who had not won here before. Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) has won three times, for The Color Purple in 1985, Schindler’s List in 1993 and Saving Private Ryan in 1998. Ang Lee won for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Bigelow won her DGA in 2009 for The Hurt Locker, and Hooper in 2010 for The King’s Speech.
Martin Short introduced Spielberg’s nomination and killed with the audience. “I guess Bill Clinton was booked. Tonight, we honor Steven for his magnificent film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.” Spielberg loved it and gave Short a big hug. He received the only standing ovation so far – and quipped back at Short: “When you tell your assistant to contact Marty about presenting you with your DGA medallion, you’ve got to assume she’s understanding that you’re talking about Scorsese. But we can’t get Clinton, and Marty’s busy, so this is a great third choice. Thank you Marty for presenting me with this.” Noting the intense competition this year, Spielberg said, “This has been an incredible year for movies. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there have been moments when I wished it was a somewhat less incredible year for movies. But those moments pass.” When presenting him with the DGA nomination medallion for Argo, Bryan Cranston recalled how Affleck was different “from every other director I’ve ever worked with. He was mouthing my dialogue while reciting his. Of course actors love that.” Affleck then deadpanned, “I should have gotten Marty Short.”
Also being recognized tonight are directors of documentaries and television and special award winners Milos Forman (Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion Picture Direction) who was ill and could not attend, Michael Apted (Robert B. Aldrich Award for extraordinary service to the Directors Guild of America and to its membership), Eric Shapiro (Lifetime Achievement Award in News Direction) whose 92-year-old father was in attendance, Susan Zwerman (Frank Capra Achievement Award given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager), and Dency Nelson (Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager). DGA president Taylor Hackford read from a letter of thanks supplied by Forman who recalled several DGA directors including Mike Nichols, Sidney Lumet, Franklin Schaffner, and Buck Henry helping him on an immigration issue many years ago. In perhaps the evening’s most moving and powerful moment, Hackford then led everyone gathered in the audience to stand, turn to the back of the room, face the camera of the closed feed, raise their wine glasses, and toast Forman. As music swelled, Hackford continued, “With this recognition, you now walk with the giants. With the directors who have helped forge this guild — Vidor, Capra, Wyler and the others, all who make us who we are today. To Milos! To Milos! To Milos!”
The DGA Awards tonight were hosted by director/actor/producer Kelsey Grammer who entertained with the usual mix of semi-amusing targeted zingers from inside showbiz. “This evening is not just an awards show. It’s a celebration of the art and craft of directing — hence, the open bar.” Addressing Kathryn Bigelow in the audience, Grammer quipped that the suspense “must be torture for you”. He went on: “Congrats to Ang Lee. In Life Of Pi, Lee had the challenge of directing a real live tiger. A wild animal who eats humans and licks himself. This prepared him for any future work with Mel Gibson.” Regarding the recent cancellation of his own Starz series Boss, he said, “The most curious part was when I received a call from someone and they’d say, ‘Kelsey, I’m so sorry about Who’s The Boss.”
Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond, Awardsline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, and Deadline contributor Ray Richmond were on the scene tonight:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Affleck’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Amy Herman
First Assistant Director: David Webb
Second Assistant Director: Ian Calip
Second Second Assistant Directors: Clark Credle, Gavin Kleintop
First Assistant Director (Turkey Unit): Belkis Turan
This is Mr. Affleck’s first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.
Ben Affleck called for the rest of his team to join him onstage. He humbly said: “The four folks here who are nominated I consider my betters. There’s no other way of saying it. I work really hard at this… You know, I got to a point in my life where I was really down, really confused, really felt beset on all sides by life, didn’t know what was gonna happen. And I thought, I should be a director.” He admitted, “I don’t think this makes me a real director. But I think it means I’m on my way.”
Backstage, Affleck reflected on what would make him a ‘real’ director: “Gosh, I don’t know… William Wyler’s a real director, Capra’s a real director, Scorsese’s a real director, Spielberg’s a real director… I think of this whole list of greats and I think, that’s the short of grown-ups who I think of as directors. I think of myself as a work in progress. I want to keep growing and pushing and I’m OK with that.”
Affleck was asked if the hard times he’d alluded to in his acceptance speech were finally over. “I hope so,” he replied. “This is certainly a very good time. You know, there are ebbs and flows. There are natural difficulties… I had this very early success as a very young man, which is difficult to manage at any age but particularly when you’re young. And I had some stuff work and some didn’t, and I ran afoul of the press a little bit and became overexposed… Maybe I was being a bit hyperbolic in the speech for effect, but it caused me to wonder, ‘What do I want to do in this industry? Do I have anything to offer? What should I be doing? How can I best express myself?’ And that was around the time I took up directing, and I really view this as connected to that decision because that was fraught with, ‘Can I do it? Can I make it? Can I really direct movies and be at the DGA and to be honored with an award by the DGA?’ It’s definitely more than I could have ever imagined on the first day of shooting on Gone Baby Gone.”
Onstage during his earlier nomination speech, Affleck gave props to all his fellow nominees, including praising Bigelow for “Looking at this male-dominated world and saying ‘Fuck it, I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna make the 9/11 movie, I’m gonna win the fucking Oscar…” and said she was an “example” for his daughters. He also quipped, “I’d also like to thank [fellow Argo producers] Grant Heslov and George Clooney. But I won’t go on at great length because this isn’t televised and they’re not here.”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Passion Pictures Production
Canfield Pictures & The Documentary Company
Red Box Films
This is Mr. Bendjelloul’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series
Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One” (AMC)
Mr. Johnson’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Stewart A. Lyons
Assistant Unit Production Manager: James Paul Hapsas
First Assistant Director: Ben Scissors
Second Assistant Director: Louis Lanni
Second Second Assistant Director: Anna Ramey
Additional Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly
This is Mr. Johnson’s first DGA Award nomination.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies For Television and Mini-Series
Game Change (HBO)
Mr. Roach’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Mary Kane
First Assistant Director: Josh King
Second Assistant Director: Emily McGovern
Second Second Assistant Director: Brian F. Relyea
This is Mr. Roach’s second DGA Award nomination. He previously won the DGA Award for Outstanding
Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for Recount in 2008.
Jay Roach won the Emmy for the same film about sarah Palin. “This is unbelievable to win this award… in a room filled with my heroes,” he said onstage. Roach noted that he grew up in a very conservative New Mexican family where his mother made a rule to never talk about politics at the dinner table. “And I stuck to that for most of my life – at least at home,” he said. “But when I watched John McCain in 2008 rush to propose Sarah Palin be the next in line for the President of the United States, I said, ‘We’ve got to talk about this’.” The remark drew a mixture of laughter and applause.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series
Girls, “Pilot” (HBO)
Ms. Dunham’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Regina Heyman, Ilene S. Landress
First Assistant Director: Mark McGann
Second Assistant Director: Jason Ivey
Second Second Assistant Director: Marcos Gonzalez Palma
This is Ms. Dunham’s first DGA Award nomination.
An ebullient Lena Dunham said during her acceptance, “It is such an unbelievable honor… I appreciate it endlessly to even call any of these people my peers. Surreal is, I know, an overused Los Angeles word, but it’s how I feel.” Then she launched into thank yous: “There’s no way I would be here without my crew. I showed up and there were 55 people waiting for me with open arms who shared with me everything that they knew. They gave me everything that they had… Thank you to my father Carroll Dunham who directed the shit out of our family…” And before she stepped off the podium, she noted: “Steven Spielberg, I’m coming for you. Ben Affleck, I already came for you.”
Backstage, Dunham explained what that last comment meant. “I just love them. I already talked to Ben. I said to Ben, ‘I love you,’ and he said, ‘Thank you’. Now I’m going to talk to Steven.” as for her show, Dunham said: “I hope the male characters don’t feel like trophies but feel like fully realized humans. And that maybe gives men a little bit of insight into female behavior.”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs
Master Chef, “Episode #305” (FOX)
Mr. Smith’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Anna Moulaison-Moore
Stage Manager: Drew Lewandowski
This is Mr. Smith’s third DGA Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category in 2010 and 2011 for episodes “103” and “201” of Master Chef.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety
66th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Mr. Weiss’ Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Ken Diego, Robin Abrams, Stefani Cohen, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Phyllis Digilio-Kent, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Dean Gordon, Arthur Lewis, Jeffrey M. Markowitz, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elise Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
This is Mr. Weiss’ ninth DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety in 2007, 2010 and 2011 for the 61st, 64th and 65th Annual Tony Awards. He was previously nominated in this category in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008, all for the 55th, 56th, 59th, 60th, and 62nd Annual Tony Awards.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials
One Life To Live, “Between Heaven and Hell” (ABC)
Ms. Mitwell’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Tracy Casper Lang, Teresa Cicala, Michael Sweeney, Paul S. Glass
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer, Tracy Casper Lang, Leah M. Weber
Production Associates: Nathalie Rodriguez, Kevin Brush
This is Ms. Mitwell’s ninth DGA Award nomination and all for her direction of One Life to Live. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials three times for One Life to Live, “Episode #9779” in 2006, “Episode #8295” in 2000 and “Episode #6356” in 1993. She was nominated five additional times for One Life to Live episodes “Starr X’d Lovers, The Musical, Part Three” in 2010, “Episode #8691” in 2002, “Episode #8012” in 1999, “Episode #7761” in 1998, and “Episode #7285” in 1996.
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs
Let it Shine (Disney Channel)
Mr. Hoen’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Katie Willard Troebs
First Assistant Director: Daniel Coffie
Second Assistant Director: Todd Turner
Second Second Assistant Director: D. Scott Kirkley
This is Mr. Hoen’s sixth DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Program in 2007 for Jump In and was previously nominated in this category in 2000 for the Even Stevens episode “Take My Sister… Please,” in 2004 for Searching for David’s Heart, in 2008 for Cheetah Girls: One World and in 2010 for Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.
Milos Foreman‘s DGA Lifetime Achievement Award was selected by (more…)