Sir Sam Mendes Saturday evening won the Directors Guild of America Award for feature film directing for his work on the World War I epic “1917,” making him the favorite for the best director Oscar.
The DGA directing award is seen as one of the best indicators of who will take home an Academy Award.
Since 1948, there have only been seven times that the winner of the DGA award for feature film directing has not gone on to win the Oscar for best director.
The most recent time was 2013, when Ben Affleck won the DGA Award for “Argo,” but wasn’t even nominated for a directing Academy Award, even though the film won the Oscar for best picture.
Mendes won the Golden Globe for best director earlier this month and shared the Critics Choice directing honor with Bong Joon Ho, who helmed the Korean psychological thriller “Parasite.”
The other nominees were Bong, Martin Scorsese for the ensemble mob drama “The Irishman”; Quentin Tarantino for the Manson-era tale “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; and Taika Waititi for the World War II satire “Jojo Rabbit.”
Mendes also won the DGA Award in 1999 for “American Beauty,” which also brought him an Oscar in his film directorial debut.
Israeli Alma Har’el won the award for first-time directors for “Honey Boy,” based on a script by Shia LaBeouf on his childhood and relationship with his father. LaBeouf also starred as a recovering alcoholic former rodeo clown.
The other nominees were Mati Diop for “Atlantics”; Melina Matsoukas for “Queen & Slim”; Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz for “The Peanut Butter Falcon”; and Joe Talbot for “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”
On the small screen, all of the drama series directing nominees were for HBO programs — “Watchmen,” “Game of Thrones” and “Succession” — with Nicole Kassell winning for the episode of the premiere episode of superhero drama “Watchmen.” “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.”
Bill Hader of HBO’s “Barry” won for outstanding directing in a comedy episode for the second consecutive year.
The field also consisted of Amy Sherman Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino, both for episodes of Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Dan Attias, also for an episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; and David Mandel for HBO’s “Veep.”
Johan Renck of HBO’s “Chernobyl” on the 1986 nuclear accident won in the TV movies/limited series category, whose six nominees included three from FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” which centered on choreographer Bob Fosse and actress/dancer Gwen Verdon.
The documentary award went to Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for “American Factory” about the Chinese company Fuyao’s glass factory in Moraine, Ohio, near Dayton, Ohio, at the site of a shuttered General Motors plant.
Netflix film is the first film produced by former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions.
Don King of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” won for regularly scheduled variety/talk/news/sports directing for the fourth consecutive year and fifth overall.
The field also included directors of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and two CBS series, “CBS Sunday Morning” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
The reality programming winner was Jason Cohen of Disney+’s “Encore!” which brought together former castmates of high school musicals and had them recreate their original performances.
The category’s other nominees were directors from “Queer Eye,” “The Chef Show,” “First Responders Live” and “American Ninja Warrior.”
The 72nd annual DGA Awards were presented at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Los Angeles, in a ceremony hosted by Judd Apatow. “The Irishman” stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were among those serving as presenters during the ceremony, along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Sam Rockwell and Alfonso Cuaron.
Here is the complete list of winners:
THEATRICAL FEATURE FILM
— Sam Mendes, “1917”
FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM
— Alma Har’el, “Honey Boy”
— Nicole Kassell, “Watchmen,” It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice (HBO)
— Bill Hader, “Barry,” ronny/lily (HBO)
VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIALS
— James Burrows, Andy Fisher, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience Norman Lear’s `All in the Family’ and `The Jeffersons”’ (ABC)
MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND LIMITED SERIES
— Johan Renck, “Chernobyl” (HBO)
VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING
— Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
— Jason Cohen, “Encore!” (Disney+)
— Amy Schatz, “Song of Parkland” (HBO Documentary Films)
— Spike Jonze, “Dream It,” Squarespace – Squarespace; “The New Normal,” Medmen – Mekanism
— Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, “American Factory” (Netflix)