The Directors Guild of America (or the DGA) named their winners from the 2015 year on Saturday night and cited Alejandro González Iñárritu as the Best Director for his impressive work on “The Revenant.” As predicted in our DGA preview, the case for Iñárritu has been loud and seen on the wall. With a citation from the Golden Globes, and now the DGA, Iñárritu is a strong contender and likely winner for the BAFTA as well. This is all adding up to a back-to-back Iñárritu win in Best Director at the Oscars. But you can also go one step further.
What pundits and casual awards watchers have thrown out as Iñárritu cons in Best Director is that he “just won for “Birdman” and there’s no way they’re giving him two Oscars in a row” as a commenter put it to me a few weeks back. We also didn’t think that Iñárritu was really going to win THREE Oscars last year and he did. His win by the DGA is significant because he’s the first director in the history of the guild to win two consecutive prizes, although he won’t be the first director to win the Oscar back-to-back if it happens. John Ford (Best Director for “Grapes of Wrath” and “How Green Was My Valley” – 1940 and 1941) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Best Director for “A Letter to Three Wives” and “All About Eve” – 1949 & 1950, he also won Adapted Screenplay) achieved the honor in the early days of the Academy Awards. With over 13,000 members of the Director’s guild, it’s very significant that they saw him as the standing achievement of the year once again. Steven Spielberg has been a consecutive nominee twice before (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”/”E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial” and “Amistad” and “Saving Private Ryan”) and never came within an ear shot of such an honor.
I believe that the win signficantly locks in a Director’s statue for Iñárritu but the only question being asked now is will “The Revenant” also win Best Picture? In the history of the Academy Awards, no filmmaker has directed back-to-back Best Picture wins. It would be a monumental feat, one that has never really been challenged either. A win in Director would mean very good news to the campaigns for “The Big Short” and “Spotlight,” the two other top contenders for the Best Picture prize, where a preferential balloting system helps massively. Which film will come on top by the end? “The Revenant” winning doesn’t just make history in the aforementioned ways. It becomes the first film since “Braveheart” to win without a SAG Ensemble and the first film since “Titanic” to win without a screenplay nomination. Those are leaning heavily on pundits predictions.
GOLDEN GLOBES – “The Revenant” and “The Martian”
PGA – “The Big Short”
SAG – “Spotlight”
DGA – “The Revenant”
BAFTA – ???
OSCARS – ???
Other winners from the evening:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series – Dee Rees for “Bessie” (HBO)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director – Alex Garland for “Ex Machina” (A24 Films)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series – David Nutter for “Game of Thrones,” “Mother’s Mercy” (HBO)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series – Chris Addison for “Veep,” “Election Night”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming – David Diomedi – “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Episode #325”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials – Don Roy King – “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary – Matthew Heineman for “Cartel Land”
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