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DGA: Alfonso Cuaron Wins Top Prize for ‘Gravity’

Alfonso Cuaron has won the Directors Guild of America award for feature film for his high-tech space thriller  “Gravity.”

The Mexico native won over Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), David O. Russell (“American Hustle”) and Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”).

“This is truly an honor and I’m humbled by it,” Cuaron said in his acceptance speech. “I still have this teen crush on other directors.”

Cuaron, who spent five years developing “Gravity,” noted that photos from space show that the Earth is “absolutely beautiful” but do not depict the human experience.

“It’s a bizarre experiment of nature, that is the human experience,” he noted. “And it’s what we as directors try to sort out as filmmakers.”

The winner was announced by last year’s winner Ben Affleck at the conclusion of the 66th DGA Awards ceremonies at the Century Plaza Hotel, based on voting by the 15,000 DGA members.

“Breaking Bad,” “30 Rock” and “Behind the Candelabra” won the major TV awards and “The Square” took the feature documentary award.

The DGA win comes a week after “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” tied for the top award by the Producers Guild of America while “American Hustle” won the SAG cast ensemble award. Two weeks ago, “12 Years a Slave” won the Golden Globe for best drama and “American Hustle” won for best comedy.

Affleck won the DGA award last year for “Argo,” becoming only the seventh DGA winner not to also receive a directing Oscar in the 65 years of the DGA Awards. The DGA and Oscar had matched for the nine previous years, last diverging in 2003 when it selected Rob Marshall for “Chicago” and the Oscar went to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.”

Cuaron, Greengrass, McQueen and Russell have been nominated for the directing Oscar along with Alexander Payne for “Nebraska.” Directors make up about 6% of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with 377 directors out of 6,028 members.

Cuaron’s 91-minute film has overperformed at the box office with $678 million worldwide for Warner Bros. He co-wrote the script with his son Jonas Cuaron as an exploration of  “adversity and the possibility of rebirth as an outcome of adversities.”

“Gravity” was Cuaron’s first film since 2006’s “Children of Men.” He’s been nominated for six Academy Awards: original screenplay for “Y Tu Mamá También,” adapted screenplay and editing for “Children of Men” and Best Picture, director and editor for “Gravity.”

Series creator Vince Gilligan won the award for TV series for the final “Breaking Bad” episode. The “Felina” episode won over Bryan Cranston for the “Blood Money” segment of “Breaking Bad” segment, David Fincher, receiving his sixth DGA nomination for directing “Chapter 1″ of “House of Cards,”  Lesli Linka Glatter for “Homeland” and David Nutter for “Game of Thrones.”

“I am blown away,” Gilligan said. “I am in the company of betters.”

Steven Soderbergh won the award for TV miniseries for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra.” He won over “The Sound of Music Live!,” “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” “Phil Spector,” and  “Killing Kennedy.” It was the first DGA win for Soderbergh, who was nommed twice in 2000 for “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic.”

The award came a few minutes after DGA president Paris Barclay made a surprise presentation to Soderbergh with the Robert B. Aldrich award for service to the guild. Soderbergh told the crowd that he initially did not want to join the DGA.

“Behind the Candelabra” won 11 Emmys and two Golden Globes along with the SAG and PGA awards.

Jehane Noujaim won the documentary award for “The Square,” the Oscar-nominated story of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square. “The Square topped “Cutie and the Boxer,” “The Act of Killing,” “Stories We Tell” and “The Crash Reel.” It’s the second DGA win for Noujaim, who won in 2001 with Chris Hegedus for “Startup.com.”

”This film is the most deeply personal film I ever made, watching my country change, she said in her acceptance. “It redefined my understanding of what was possible.”

Beth McCarthy-Miller won the award for TV comedy series for the “Hogcock/Last Lunch” episode of “30 Rock.” The episode topped two segments of “Modern Family” — one directed by Cranston — and two of “The Big Bang Theory.”

It was the third DGA award for McCarthy-Miller, who won twice previously for musical variety shows.

Amy Schatz won her fifth DGA award for children’s programming for HBO’s “An Apology to Elephants.”

Neil P. DeGroot took the reality award for “The Lost Coast” segment of TNT’s “72 Hours,” his second trophy in the category.

Don Roy King won the regularly scheduled variety award for “Saturday Night Live with host Justin Timberlake.” It was his first win after being nominated seven times for “SNL.”

Glen Weis won his fifth DGA award for the 67th Tony Awards in the specials – variety/talk/news/sports category.

Complete list of winners:

Feature Film:

WINNER: Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”)
Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”)
Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”)
David O. Russell (“American Hustle”)
Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”)

Documentary Feature:

Zachary Heinzerling (“Cutie and the Boxer”)
WINNER: Jehane Noujaim (“The Square”)
Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”)
Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell”)
Lucy Walker (“The Crash Reel”)

Comedy Series:

Mark Cendrowski, “The Big Bang Theory” (for the episode “The Hofstadter Insufficiency”)
Bryan Cranston, “Modern Family” (for the episode “The Old Man & the Tree)
Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family” (for the episode “My Hero”)
WINNER: Beth McCarthy-Miller, “30 Rock” (for the episode “Hogcock/Last Lunch”)
Anthony Rich, “The Big Bang Theory” (for the episode “The Love Spell Potential”)

Reality Program:

Matthew Bartley, “The Biggest Loser”
WINNER: Neil P. DeGroot, “72 Hours”
Paul Starkman, “Top Chef”
J. Rupert Thompson, “The Hero”
Bertram van Munster, “The Amazing Race”

Variety/Talk/News/Sports — Specials:

Louis C.K., “Louis C.K.: Oh My God”
Joel Gallen, “2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony”
Louis J. Horvitz, “The 55th Annual Grammy Awards”
Don Mischer, “The 85th Annual Academy Awards”
WINNER: Glenn Weiss, “The 67th Annual Tony Awards”

Children’s Programs:

Stephen Herek, “Jinxed”
Jeffrey Hornaday, “Teen Beach Movie”
Jonathan Judge, “Swindle”
WINNER: Amy Schatz, “An Apology to Elephants”
Adam Weissman, “A.N.T. Farm”

Variety/Talk/News/Sports:

Dave Diomedi, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Andy Fisher, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
Jim Hoskinson, “The Colbert Report”
WINNER: Don Roy King, “SNL”
Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show”

Movie for TV and Miniseries:

Stephen Frears, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”
David Mamet, “Phil Spector”
Beth McCarthy-Miller & Rob Ashford (“The Sound of Music Live!”)
Nelson McCormick, “Killing Kennedy”
WINNER: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra”

Dramatic Series:

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (for the episode “Blood Money”)
David Fincher, “House of Cards” (for the episode “Chapter 1”)
WINNER: Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” (for the episode “Felina”)
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland” (for the episode “The Star”)
David Nutter, “Game of Thrones” (for the episode “The Rain of Castamere”)

Commercials:

Fredrik Bond, “Voyage” for Heineken and “From the Future” for Johnny Walker
John X. Carey, “Real Beauty Sketches” for Dove
WINNER: Martin de Thurah, “The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down” for Hennessy and “Human Race” for Acura
Matthijs van Heijningen, “Perfect Day” for Playstation and “48” for Verizon”
Noam Murro, “Basketball” for Guinness and “Kids” for DIRECTV and “Mask” for VW

Franklin J Schaffner Achievement Award: Vincent DeDario (presented by Keith Jackson)

Robert B. Aldrich Award for Service: Steven Soderbergh

Frank Capra Achievement Award: Lee Blaine

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