Wednesday, December 13, 2017
  • Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016
Alejandro G. Iñárritu Wins DGA Award For "The Revenant"
Leonardo DiCaprio, left, star of "The Revenant," poses backstage with the film's director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at the 68th Directors Guild of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Becomes first director in history to receive the honor in back-to-back years
  • LOS ANGELES
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In a historic win, Alejandro G. Iñárritu nabbed the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Revenant. Iñárritu becomes the first director to receive the coveted honor in back-to-back years. He won in 2015 for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) which went on to earn him a Best Director Oscar, a progression that’s the perennial awards season norm. All but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 have gone on to take the Academy Award for Best Director.

Iñárritu topped a field of DGA feature nominees which also consisted of Adam McKay for The Big Short, Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, and Ridley Scott for The Martian.

Misty-eyed as he accepted the DGA Award last night capping a gala ceremony in Los Angeles, Iñárritu thanked the Guild, describing the honor as “a hug from my peers.”  Iñárritu, who’s of Mexican ancestry, added that this hug is not just for him but for “a whole Latin American community.”

The Revenant marks Iñárritu’s third career DGA win, the first coming in 2012 for Outstanding Achievement in Commercials for Procter & Gamble’s “Best Job” produced by Anonymous Content.

An evening of firsts
While Iñárritu won in consecutive years, last night's (2/6) awards ceremony saw several first time-nominees become winners, including: Dee Rees who took the Movies for Television and Miniseries category on the strength of HBO’s Bessie; Matt Heineman, named the past year’s best documentary director for Cartel Land; Chris Addison whose work for the “Election Night” episode of Veep garnered the Comedy Series honor; and Andreas Nilsson of Biscuit Filmworks who won for Outstanding Achievement in Commercials (see separate story).

Further reflecting the theme of firsts finishing first, the Guild rolled out its inaugural award recognizing Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director, the recipient being Alex Garland for Ex Machina. Presenting the award to Garland was director Steven Spielberg who in his introductory remarks noted that if the DGA had established such an award from the outset, among the winners might have been John Huston for The Maltese Falcon, Orson Welles for Citizen Kane. John Singleton for Boyz in the Hood, Clint Eastwood for Play Misty For Me, and Jodie Foster for Little Man Tate, Spielberg used this historic speculation to underscore the importance of the DGA now putting the spotlight on first-timers.

There were also prior nominees who earned their first DGA wins: David Nutter topped the Dramatic Series field for the “Mother’s Mercy” episode of Game of Thrones (he has six career DGA noms); and Adam Vetri (with two career nods) took the Reality Program category for the “Gods of War” installment of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge.

Female representation
Rees was the lone woman to win a DGA Award last night. However, 14 of the 47 nominees this year were female, a record high tally for the Guild.

Nearly all of those nominations came on the TV side of the competition, the sole woman among the feature nominees being in the First-Time Feature Film Director category: Marielle Heller for The Diary of a Teenage Girl.

However Mary Rae Thewlis did win the Frank Capra Achievement Award which is given to an assistant director or unit production manager in recognition of career achievement and service to the DGA.

There were two other special awards bestowed. Joe Pytka won the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction (see separate story); and Tom McDermott received the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award which is given to an associate director or stage manager in honor of career achievement and service to the DGA.

Here’s a full rundown of last night’s DGA Award winners:

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM  
ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU The Revenant (20th Century Fox)  
Mr. Iñárritu’s Directorial Team:
 Unit Production Managers: Drew Locke, James W. Skotchdopole, Doug Jones
 First Assistant Director: Scott Robertson
 Second Assistant Directors: Megan M. Shank, Matthew Haggerty, Jeremy Marks
 Unit Production Manager: Gabriela Vazquez (Argentina, California, and Montana Unit) 
 First Assistant Director: Adam Somner (Argentina, California, and Montana Unit)
 Second Assistant Directors: Trevor R. Tavares, Jasmine Marie Alhambra (Argentina, California, and Montana Unit) 
 Second Second Assistant Directors: Brett Robinson, Kasia Trojak (Argentina, California, and Montana Unit) 
This is Mr. Iñárritu’s third DGA Award win and fourth nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film in 2014 for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). He was also nominated in this category for Babel in 2006. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for “Best Job” (Procter & Gamble) in 2012.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES  
DEE REES  Bessie  (HBO)  
Ms. Rees’s Directorial Team:
 Unit Production Manager: Ron Schmidt
 First Assistant Director: Michael J. Moore
 Second Assistant Director: Basti Van Der Woude
 Second Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly  
This is Ms. Rees’s first DGA Award win.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF A FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR    
ALEX GARLAND  Ex Machina  (A24)  
Mr. Garland’s Directorial Team:  
 Unit Production Manager: Sara Desmond  
 First Assistant Director: Nick Heckstall-Smith  
 Second Assistant Director: Ray Kenny  
This is Mr. Garland’s first DGA Award win.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES  
DAVID NUTTER  Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”  (HBO)  
This is Mr. Nutter’s first DGA Award win and sixth nomination. He was previously nominated in this category in 2013 for the Game of Thrones episode “The Rains of Castamere” and in 2006 for The Sopranos episode “Join the Club.” He was also nominated in the Comedy Series category for Entourage episodes “The Resurrection” (2007) and “Lose Yourself” (2010); and in the Movies for Television and Mini-Series category for The Pacific “Basilone” in 2010.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY SERIES  
CHRIS ADDISON  Veep, “Election Night”  (HBO) 
Mr. Addison’s Directorial Team:
 Unit Production Manager: Bill Hill
 First Assistant Director: Dale Stern
 Second Assistant Director: Michelle Gritzer
 Second Second Assistant Director: Miles Perman  
This is Mr. Addison’s first DGA Award win.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING   
DAVE DIOMEDI  The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, “Episode #325”  (NBC)  
Mr. Diomedi’s Directorial Team:
 Associate Directors: Mark Jankeloff, Maureen Smith
 Stage Managers: Niclana Tolmasoff, Mike Kilkenny  
This is Mr. Diomedi’s second DGA Award win and his third nomination. He previously won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming in 2014 for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, “Episode #1.” He was also nominated in this same category in 2013 for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, “#799.”
   
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY/TALK/NEWS/SPORTS – SPECIALS   
DON ROY KING  Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special  (NBC)  
Mr. King’s Directorial Team:
 Associate Directors: Michael Mancini, Michael Poole, Bob Caminiti, Dan Dome
 Stage Managers: Gena Rositano, Chris Kelly, Joey Despenzero, Lynn Finkel, Eddie Valk 
This is Mr. King’s second DGA Award and tenth nomination. He previously won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming in 2013 for Saturday Night Live “Host: Justin Timberlake” and was previously nominated for Saturday Night Live episodes in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He was also nominated in the Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming category this year for Saturday Night Live, “Host: Tracy Morgan/Musical Guest: Demi Lovato.”   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMS   
ADAM VETRI  Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, “Gods of War”  (CMT)  
Mr. Vetri’s Directorial Team:
 Associate Director: Ian Blankenship
 Stage Manager: Richard Mercury Melendez  
This is Mr. Vetri’s first DGA Award win and second nomination. He was previously nominated in this category in 2014 for Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, “Welcome to the Gun Show.”   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS   
KENNY ORTEGA  Descendants  (Disney Channel)   
Mr. Ortega’s Directorial Team:
 First Assistant Director: Rachel Leiterman  
This is Mr. Ortega’s second DGA Award win and third nomination. He previously won in this category in 2006 for High School Musical, and was nominated in this category in 2007 for High School Musical 2.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIALS  
ANDREAS NILSSON (Biscuit Filmworks) 
"Emily’s Oz," Comcast/Xfinity – Goodby, Silverstein & Partners NY 
 First Assistant Directors: Craig Owens, Eric Topp
 Second Assistant Director: Eric Topp 
"Time Upon A Once," General Electric - BBDO 
 Unit Production Manager: Vincent Landay 
"Dad Song," Old Spice - Wieden + Kennedy 
This is Mr. Nilsson’s first DGA Award win.   

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DOCUMENTARY  
MATTHEW HEINEMAN Cartel Land
The Orchard A&E Indiefilms Our Time Projects The Documentary Group Whitewater Films 
This is Mr. Heineman’s first DGA Award win.   

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT & SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENTS 
Joe Pytka Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction:
Commercial director Joe Pytka was honored with the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction in honor of his groundbreaking career. 

Mary Rae ThewlisFrank Capra Achievement Award: Given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Directors Guild of America. 

Tom McDermott – Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award: Given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Directors Guild of America. 

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