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Ben Affleck wins top prize at DGA Awards

'Argo' helmer on a roll with Director's Guild honor

Ben Affleck won the Directors Guild of America award for “Argo” from his directing peers on Saturday night, a week after winning top producing honors from the PGA and the SAG ensemble awards.

He topped Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Tom Hooper for “Les Miserables,” Ang Lee for “Life of Pi” and Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln” — all of whom had previously won the DGA award and gone on to win an Oscar.

Affleck remained self-deprecating in his acceptance speech. “I don’t think this makes me a real director, but I think I’m on my way,” he said.

Other major winners included “Searching for Sugar Man” as top doc, Lena Dunham for comedy series “Girls,” Rian Johnson for “Breaking Bad” in drama series and Jay Roach for “Game Change” in TV movie/miniseries.

“Argo” is only the third film Affleck has directed, following “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.” By contrast, Spielberg has been nommed 11 times for the DGA award, winning three times.

“What an incredible year for movies,” said Spielberg, after receiving a standing ovation for the presentation of his nomination medallion. “Maybe I’ve had moments when I wished it wasn’t such an incredible year.”

Michel Hazanavicius, last year’s winner for “The Artist,” presented the award to Affleck at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Saturday night’s DGA win for Affleck once again underlined the fact that he did not receive a best director Oscar nomination on Jan. 10. He won a Golden Globe three days later for directing the Warner Bros. hostage drama.

With the DGA victory, Affleck has become only the seventh DGA winner not to receive a directing Oscar bid in the 65 years of the DGA Awards. The 15,400 members of the DGA vote on the awards, while the directing branch of the Academy numbers 401, or 6% of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The DGA last diverged from AMPAS in 2003, when it selected Marshall for “Chicago” and the Oscar went to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist,” and in 2001, when Lee won the DGA award and Steven Soderbergh took the Oscar for “Traffic.”

Documentary award winner “Searching for Sugar Man” continued to rack up trophies a week after Malik Bendjelloul took the PGA Award for his debut feature film about Sixto Rodriguez, who disappeared from the U.S. music scene in the 1970s. His music become popular a decade later as part of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement.

In his acceptance, Bendjelloul noted that Rodriguez was on a flight to perform in South Africa before 50,000 concertgoers. “Sugar Man” is also up for an Oscar.

Dunham won the DGA award for comedy series for the “Girls” pilot for HBO, topping “30 Rock,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Louis” and Emmy series winner “Modern Family.”

“This is surreal, which I know is an overused Los Angeles word,” said a stunned Dunham in her acceptance.

Johnson won the drama series award for directing an episode of “Breaking Bad” over two segs of “Homeland” — which won the Emmy for drama series — along with episodes of “Mad Men” and “The Newsroom.” Johnson also directed the sci-fi feature “Looper.”

Roach went back to back for TV movie-miniseries, taking his second trophy for “Game Change” in a week after drawing the PGA nod in the same category. It’s also Roach’s second DGA Award after winning for another political drama, 2008’s “Recount.”

Jill Mitwell won her fourth DGA trophy for daytime serials for “One Life to Live,” which has ended its network run. Glenn Weiss also won a fourth DGA award for variety for the 66th Annual Tony Awards, going back to back after winning the category last year for the Tonycast.

Paul Hoen took the award for children’s programming for Disney’s “Let It Shine.” Brian Smith won the reality award for “Master Chef,” and Alejandro Inarritu took the commercials award for the “Best Job” spot for Procter & Gamble.

Complete list of DGA Awards:

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM:

BEN AFFLECK

Argo

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Affleck’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Amy Herman

• First Assistant Director: David Webb

• Second Assistant Director: Ian Calip

• Second Second Assistant Directors: Clark Credle, Gavin Kleintop

• First Assistant Director (Turkey Unit): Belkis Turan

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIALS:

ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU

Anonymous Content

Best Job, Proctor and Gamble — Wieden + Kennedy

• First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn

• Second Assistant Director: Michelle Schrauwers

• Second Second Assistant Directors: Heather Anderson, Blake Perkinson

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES:

RIAN JOHNSON

Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One”

(AMC)

Johnson’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Stewart A. Lyons

• Assistant Unit Production Manager: James Paul Hapsas

• First Assistant Director: Ben Scissors

• Second Assistant Director: Louis Lanni

• Second Second Assistant Director: Anna Ramey

• Additional Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMS:

BRIAN SMITH

Master Chef, “Episode #305”

(FOX)

Smith’s Directorial Team:

• Associate Director: Anna Moulaison-Moore

• Stage Manager: Drew Lewandowski

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES:

JAY ROACH

Game Change

(HBO)

Roach’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Mary Kane

• First Assistant Director: Josh King

• Second Assistant Director: Emily McGovern

• Second Second Assistant Director: Brian F. Relyea

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSICAL VARIETY:

GLENN WEISS

66th Annual Tony Awards

(CBS)

Weiss’ Directorial Team:

• Associate Directors: Ken Diego, Robin Abrams, Stefani Cohen, Ricky Kirshner

• Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Phyllis Digilio-Kent, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Dean Gordon, Arthur Lewis, Jeffrey M. Markowitz, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elise Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DAYTIME SERIALS:

JILL MITWELL

One Life To Live, “Between Heaven and Hell”

(ABC)

Mitwell’s Directorial Team:

• Associate Directors: Tracy Casper Lang, Teresa Cicala, Michael Sweeney, Paul S. Glass

• Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer, Tracy Casper Lang, Leah M. Weber

• Production Associates: Nathalie Rodriguez, Kevin Brush

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS:

PAUL HOEN

Let it Shine

(Disney Channel)

Hoen’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Katie Willard Troebs

• First Assistant Director: Daniel Coffie

• Second Assistant Director: Todd Turner

• Second Second Assistant Director: D. Scott Kirkley

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DOCUMENTARY:

MALIK BENDJELLOUL

Searching For Sugar Man

Sony Pictures Classics

Passion Pictures Production

Canfield Pictures & The Documentary Company

Red Box Films

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY SERIES:

LENA DUNHAM

Girls, “Pilot”

(HBO)

Dunham’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Managers: Regina Heyman, Ilene S. Landress

• First Assistant Director: Mark McGann

• Second Assistant Director: Jason Ivey

• Second Second Assistant Director: Marcos Gonzalez Palma

SERVICE AND ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS:

Milos Forman — Lifetime Achievement Award

In recognition of distinguished achievement in Motion Picture Direction

Michael Apted — Robert B. Aldrich Award

In recognition of extraordinary service to the Directors Guild of America and to its membership.

Eric Shapiro — Lifetime Achievement Award in News Direction

In recognition of distinguished achievement in News Direction

Susan Zwerman — Frank 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.

Dency Nelson — 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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