Christopher Nolan prevails at the DGAs, claiming precursor award for 'Oppenheimer'


Christopher Nolan is one step closer to cradling his first Oscar.

Last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, the 53-year-old British director of “Oppenheimer” won the Directors Guild of America’s award for feature film. The prize is considered a particularly reliable predictor of an Academy Award: Only twice during the last 22 years has the DGA’s recipient not made it to the Oscars podium. (Those exceptions were Ben Affleck for “Argo” in 2013 and Sam Mendes for “1917” in 2020.)

Nolan’s triumph was widely anticipated by prognosticators. The filmmaker was gracious during the evening’s ceremony: “Uniquely, no one gets up here alone,” he said, thanking his support team at the untelevised awards show that has become known for multiple shout-outs to the solidarity of the guild and the many assistant directors that every famous filmmaker relies on.

The director’s work in “Oppenheimer” was recognized alongside fellow nominees Martin Scorsese for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Yorgos Lanthimos for “Poor Things,” Alexander Payne for “The Holdovers” and Greta Gerwig for “Barbie.” Those last two directors did not make the final Oscar bracket, with slots instead going to Justine Triet for “Anatomy of a Fall” and Jonathan Glazer for “The Zone of Interest.”

Little of the swirl of drama that Gerwig’s failure to land an Oscar nomination for 2023’s top-grossing movie was apparent at the DGA’s ceremony, apart from a joke from presenter Jonah Hill that fell into an uncanny valley between sarcastic and sincere. (“Before we begin, it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge the recent tragedies,” he said. “Of course, I’m referring to the fact that ‘Barbie’ only got eight Academy Award nominations.”)

Other winners at the ceremony included “Past Lives” director Celine Song, claiming the Michael Apted Award for first-time feature filmmaking — a prize that has also gone to Jordan Peele and Maggie Gyllenhaal. In the night’s most moving moment, TV director David Nutter, a legend for helming, among other landmarks, “The X-Files” and the “Red Wedding” episode of “Game of Thrones,” received a lifetime achievement award.

After an impressive clip reel that anyone would kill for, Nutter, recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, ascended to the stage for two separate standing ovations. “It’s made me a better director,” he said of his illness.

Here is a complete list of the night’s nominees, with winners in bold:

Outstanding directorial achievement in theatrical feature film

Greta Gerwig — “Barbie” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Yorgos Lanthimos — “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)
Christopher Nolan — “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
Alexander Payne — “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)
Martin Scorsese — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films / Paramount Pictures)

Michael Apted Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in First-Time Theatrical Feature Film

Cord Jefferson — “American Fiction” (Orion Pictures / Amazon MGM Studios)
Manuela Martelli — “Chile ‘76” (Kino Lober)
Noora Niasari — “Shayda” (Sony Pictures Classics / Origma 45)
A.V. Rockwell — “A Thousand and One” (Focus Features)
Celine Song — “Past Lives” (A24)

Outstanding directorial achievement in documentary

Moses Bwayo & Christopher Sharp — “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (National Geographic)
Mstyslav Chernov — “20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS Distribution)
Madeleine Gavin — “Beyond Utopia” (Roadside Attractions)
Davis Guggenheim — “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple Original Films)
D. Smith — “Kokomo City” (Magnolia Pictures)

Outstanding directorial achievement in dramatic series

Peter Hoar — “The Last of Us,” “Long, Long Time” (HBO/Max)
Becky Martin — “Succession,” “Rehearsal” (HBO/Max)
Mark Mylod — “Succession,” “Connor’s Wedding” (HBO/Max)
Andrij Parekh — “Succession,” “America Decides” (HBO/Max)
Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman — “Succession,” “Tailgate Party” (HBO/Max)

Outstanding directorial achievement in comedy series

Erica Dunton — “Ted Lasso,” “La Locker Room Aux Folles” (Apple TV+)
Bill Hader — “Barry,” “wow” (HBO/Max)
Declan Lowney — “Ted Lasso,” “So Long, Farewell” (Apple TV+)
Christopher Storer — “The Bear,” “Fishes” (FX)
Ramy Youssef — “The Bear,” “Honeydew” (FX)

Outstanding directorial achievement in movies for television and limited series

Shawn Levy— “All the Light We Cannot See” (Netflix)
Tara Miele — “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Introduction to Chemistry” (Apple TV+)
Millicent Shelton — “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Poirot” (Apple TV+)
Sarah Adina Smith — “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Her and Him” (Apple TV+)
Nzingha Stewar — “Daisy Jones & the Six,” ” Track 10: Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” (Amazon)

Outstanding directorial achievement in variety/talk/news/sports series

Paul G. Casey — “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “Episode 2117” (HBO/Max)
Jim Hoskinson — “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “Jan. 19, 2023: Rep. Adam Kinzinger; Meet Me at the Altar; Special Appearance by Harvey Guillén” (CBS)
Michael Mancini & Liz Patrick — “Saturday Night Live,” “Pedro Pascal / Coldplay” (NBC)
David Paul Meyer — “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” “Singer Charley Crockett Performs “Name on a Billboard” and Discusses New Album with Jordan Klepper ” (Comedy Central)
Paul Pennolino — “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Episode 1018: Dollar Stores” (HBO/Max)

Outstanding directorial achievement in variety/talk/news/sports special

Joel Gallen — “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage” (Netflix)
Stan Lathan — “Dave Chappelle: The Dreamer” (Netflix)
Linda Mendoza — “Wanda Sykes: I’m an Entertainer” (Netflix)
Paul Miller — “Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love” (NBC)
Glenn Weiss — “The 95th Annual Academy Awards” (ABC)

Outstanding directorial achievement in reality programs

Niharika Desai — “Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss,” “Happiness Is a Bottle of Cod Liver Oil” (Peacock)
Ken Fuchs — “The Golden Bachelor,” “Premiere” (ABC)
Joseph Guidry & Alexandra Lipsitz — “Project Greenlight: A New Generation,” “PGL vs. Gray Matter Problem” (HBO/Max)
Rich Kim — “Lego Masters,” “Is It Brick?” (Fox)
Patrick McManus — “American Ninja Warrior,” “Season 15 Finale” (NBC)

Outstanding directorial achievement in children’s programs

James Bobin — “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher” (Disney+)
Destin Daniel Cretton — “American Born Chinese,” “What Guy Are You” (Disney+)
Rob Letterman — “Goosebumps,” “Say Cheese and Die” (Disney+)
Amy Schatz — “Stand Up & Shout: Songs From a Philly High School” (HBO/Max)
Dinh Thai — “American Born Chinese,” “A Monkey on a Quest” (Disney+)

Outstanding directorial achievement in commercials

Martin de Thurah (Epoch Films)
Seb Edwards (Park Pictures)
Kim Gehrig (Somesuch)
Craig Gillespie (MJZ)
Andreas Nilsson (Biscuit Filmworks)



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