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DGA Awards: Guillermo del Toro Wins Feature Award for ‘The Shape of Water’

Guillermo del Toro has won the Directors Guild of America’s top feature award for the fantasy drama “The Shape of Water.”

He won the award over Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”).

“Inclusion is necessary if for no other reason than we’re not hearing all the stories that need to be heard,” he said in his acceptance speech at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

It’s the fourth time in recent years that a Mexican director has won the DGA award. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won the trophies for “Birdman” and “The Revenant” and Alfonso Cuaron won for “Gravity.” Last year, Damien Chazelle won for “La La Land.”

The DGA award is one of the top indicators of Oscar sentiment with all but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 going on to take the best director Oscar. The last divergence came in 2013 when Ben Affleck won the DGA award for “Argo” even though he did not receive an Oscar nomination.

Del Toro’s story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a captured acquatic creature has now won the Golden Globe for best director and the Producers Guild’s Darryl Zanuck Award for top feature film. He’s nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Del Toro was inspired to make “The Shape of Water” after seeing “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” as a 6-year-old. He spoke backstage of the importance of fable in current society, adding, “Fable allows you to fabricate fabulous creatures that are not of this world.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Veep” and “Big Little Lies” won the major TV awards. Reed Morano won for top drama series for the “Offred” episode of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” after the dystopian series won eight Emmys.

It was Morano’s first DGA win. “I want to thank my kids Casey and Fletcher, because I’m a mom first and a director second,” she said.

Jean-Marc Vallee won the award for movies for television and miniseries award for  “Big Little Lies,” after the HBO series won eight Emmys. It was Vallee’s first DGA Award.

“Veep” took the award for best comedy series award for the “Chiclet” episode directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller. It was McCarthy-Miller’s fourth DGA win and her 12th nomination.

Peele won the first-time feature director award. evoking a standing ovation from the audience. He won the award over Geremy Jasper (“Patti Cake$”), William Oldroyd (“Lady Macbeth”), Taylor Sheridan (“Wind River”) and Aaron Sorkin (“Molly’s Game”).

“Get Out,” a horror-comedy that explores race relations in modern-day America, grossed more than $250 million on a $4.5 million budget.

“This has been the best year of my life, hands down,” he said. “My wife and I have had a baby. I’ve had to balance that with the knowledge that this has not been a good year for our country.”

Matthew Heineman won the documentary award for “City of Ghosts,” his film about the Syrian media activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently. It was the second DGA win for Heineman, who won the category in 2015 for “Cartel Land.”

Judd Apatow hosted the show. DGA  President Thomas Schlamme opened the ceremonies Saturday night. Referring to his work on “The West Wing,” he said, “I will continue to model myself after the fictitious president,” he said.

Schlamme emphasized the guild’s commitment to opposing sexual harassment, saying, “This is not just a fight by women for women. They didn’t create this problem. It’s a fight for everyone for a better world for everyone.

“What’s clear is our decades-long fight to ensure the inclusion of women and people of color in the director’s chair,” he added.

Apatow offered several well-received jibes at Harvey Weinstein, saying, “What Harvey Weinstein ruined was robes. If I wear one now, my wife says ‘ewww.'”

Niki Caro won the first award of the evening in children’s programs for Netflix’s “Anne with an E” for the “Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny” episode.

Glenn Weiss won the Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials category for the 89th Annual Academy Awards, made memorable by the mistaken presentation of the Best Picture Oscar to “La La Land” rather than “Moonlight.” Weiss thanked the members of his crew for dealing with the mistake quickly and his teachers for instructing him in dealing with stressful situations.

“It’s not just about how to direct but how to react when there’s pressure,” he added.

Don Roy King won the variety/talk — regularly scheduled program category for the “Saturday Night Live” segment hosted by Jimmy Fallon. It was his third DGA award.

Brian Smith won the DGA Award for reality programs for “MasterChef” for the “Vegas Deluxe & Oyster Shucks” episode.



Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
(Universal Pictures)

Peele’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Marcei A. Brown, Rick A. Osako (Fairhope Unit)
First Assistant Director: Gerard DiNardi
Second Assistant Directors: Ram Paul Silbey, Marc Newland (Fairhope Unit), Jack McKenna (New York Unit)
Second Second Assistant Director: Maggie Ballard
Location Manager: Kurt Enger (New York Unit)


Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

del Toro’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: J. Miles Dale
Production Manager: Dennis Chapman
First Assistant Director: Pierre Henry
Second Assistant Director: Tyler Delben



City of Ghosts

(Amazon Studios)



The Handmaid’s Tale, “Offred”


Ms. Morano’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager: Joe Boccia



Veep, “Chicklet”


Ms. McCarthyMiller’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Manager: David Hyman
  • First Assistant Director: Dale Stern
  • Second Assistant Director: Jeff Rosenberg
  • Second Second Assistant Director: Yarden Levo
  • Additional Second Assistant Director: Chalis Romero



Big Little Lies


Mr. Vallée’s Directorial Team:

  • Unit Production Managers: Barbara A. Hall, G.D. Fienberg
  • First Assistant Director: David Ticotin
  • Second Assistant Director: Christine Danahy
  • Second Second Assistant Director: Bob Riley
  • Additional Second Assistant Directors: Bryan Landrine, Rob Burgess, Allison Rushton, Mallory Squeo



The 89th Annual Academy Awards


Mr. Weiss’s Directorial Team:

  • Associate Directors: Ken Diego, Eve Adair, Susan Kopensky, Lori Margules, Robin Mishkin Abrams, Michael Polito
  • Stage Managers: Gary Natoli, Rita Cossette, Dave Cove, John Esposito, Valdez Flagg, Chris Hines, Alissa Levisohn Hoyo, Arthur Lewis, Roxanne Lozano, Ron Paul, Tammy Raab, Jason Seligman, Jackie Stathis, Cheryl TeetzelMoore, Debbie Williams, Ari Woog



Saturday Night Live, “Host: Jimmy Fallon”


Mr. King’s Directorial Team:

  • Associate Directors: Michael Mancini, Michael Poole, Bob Caminiti
  • Stage Managers: Gena Rositano, Chris Kelly



MasterChef, “Vegas Deluxe & Oyster Shucks”


Mr. Smith’s Directorial Team:

  • Associate Director: Anna Moulaison
  • Stage Managers: Drew Lewandowski, Brady Hess



Anne with an E, “Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny”




(Epoch Films)

Festival, StubHub – Goodby Silverstein

  • First Assistant Director: Charles Conner

Machines, StubHub – Goodby Silverstein

  • First Assistant Director: Charles Conner

Mad World, WealthSimple – WealthSimple In House

  • First Assistant Director: Jey Wada
  • Second Assistant Director: Curtis Smith


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