Sam Mendes Tops DGA Awards with ‘1917’; Bill Hader, Alma Har’el Score Wins

     January 26, 2020

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The Directors Guild of America Awards were held last night, and one of the most reliable predictors of Oscar success has crowned Sam Mendes with its highest achievement in feature film directing. Mendes, who won this award in 1999 for American Beauty, bested Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) to take home the top prize for his work in bringing the World War I film 1917 to the screen. The “one-take” movie was a late-comer to the Oscar race but has been steamrolling the major precursor awards, also winning the top prize from the Producers Guild of America.

The last six DGA winners in a row have gone on to also win the Oscar for Best Director so this is good news for Mendes and 1917 as a whole, although I wouldn’t give up hope on a Bong Joon-ho win just yet. The Parasite love is strong.

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Image via HBO

Elsewhere at the DGA awards, Alma Har’el won the First-Time Feature Film award for her striking, intimate work in bringing Honey Boy to the screen, and American Factory filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert won the Documentary prize.

On the TV side of things, Bill Hader won his second DGA for Best Comedy Series, scoring a trophy for the truly brilliant Barry Season 2 episode “ronny/lily.” Nicole Kassell took the Dramatic Series prize for her also brilliant work in bringing the pilot of Watchmen to the screen, while Johan Renck won the Movies for Television and Limited Series award for Chernobyl.

Check out the full list of winners below.

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN THEATRICAL FEATURE FILM

SAM MENDES
1917
(Universal Pictures)

Directorial Team:
• Unit Production Managers: Callum McDougall, Hannah Godwin
• First Assistant Director: Michael Lerman
• Second Assistant Director: Joey Coughlin

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES

NICOLE KASSELL
Watchmen, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”
(HBO)

Directorial Team:
• 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

watchmen-louis-gossett-jr-nicole-kassell

Image via HBO

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND LIMITED SERIES

JOHAN RENCK
Chernobyl
(HBO)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DOCUMENTARY

STEVEN BOGNAR and JULIA REICHERT
American Factory
(Netflix)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF A FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR

ALMA HAR’EL
Honey Boy
(Amazon Studios)

Directorial Team:
• 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

SPIKE JONZE
(MJZ)
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

BILL HADER
Barry, “ronny/lily”
(HBO)

Directorial Team:
• 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

honey-boy-alma-harel

Image via Amazon
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMS

JASON COHEN
Encore!, “Annie”
(Disney+)

Directorial Team:
• Associate Director: Daniel Shultz

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIAL

JAMES BURROWS
(“All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” – Directed by)
ANDY FISHER
(“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’
(ABC)

Directorial Team:
• 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”
(NBC)

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

AMY SCHATZ
Song of Parkland
(HBO Documentary Films)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Franklin Schaffner Award
Arthur E. Lewis

Frank Capra Achievement Award
Duncan S. Henderson

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