Sam Mendes Wins Top DGA Award for ‘1917’

Director Sam Mendes won the top prize at the 72nd annual Directors Guild of America Awards for “1917,” solidifying the World War I drama as the film to beat at the Academy Awards.

“I was fortunate enough to win this award two decades ago,” Mendes said in his acceptance speech, referencing his DGA Awards win for 1999’s “American Beauty.” “And I think if I’m honest with myself, I didn’t feel ultimately like I really knew what I was doing. I feel a little bit more like I do now.”

Mendes also used his speech to praise his fellow nominees — Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite,” Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit” — and laud the chance to get to know them better.

“To hear other directors think and talk — it’s a little like being an alcoholic,” he said. “You realize that everyone else goes through the same problems. It was really inspiring.”

The DGAs are one of the most reliable bellwethers for the Academy Awards — all but seven directors who won the feature film award at the DGAs went on to win the corresponding Oscar, including last year’s winner Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.” (The last time the two awards diverged, it was when Ben Affleck won the DGAs for “Argo” but wasn’t nominated for the Oscar.)

“Honey Boy” director Alma Har’el won the first-time feature award. After noting that her father was an alcoholic, she thanked star and screenwriter Shia LaBeouf for affording her the opportunity to make a film about the children of alcoholics. Har’el then gave a shout out to Jessica Dimmock, who is spearheading the effort to change the guild’s policy for new and expectant parents.

“We’re counting on the DGA to fight for parents so they can birth the new generation of audiences and filmmakers,” she said.

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert won the documentary award for their film “American Factory,” over “The Cave,” “Maiden,” “Honeyland,” and “One Child Nation.”

HBO’s “Watchmen” won its first major award when Nicole Kassell took home the medallion for dramatic series, over fellow “Watchmen” director Stephen Williams, “Game of Thrones” directors David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik, and “Succession” director Mark Mylod.

Bill Hader took home the comedy series award for “Barry,” winning over three directors for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Dan Attias, Daniel Palladino, and Amy Sherman-Palladino) and David Mandel for the series finale of “Veep.” Johan Renck continued the near unbroken awards season run for HBO’s “Chernobyl,” winning the prize for TV movie and limited series, over three directors for “Fosse/Verdon” (Thomas Kail, Minkie Spiro, and Jessica Yu), Vince Gilligan for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” and Ava DuVernay for “When They See Us.”

“Saturday Night Live” director Don Roy King won his fifth consecutive DGA award for variety/talk/news/sports series. James Burrows and Andy Fisher won the variety/talk/news/sports specials award for ABC’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” special featuring episodes of “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.” In his speech, Burrows thanked “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” creator, the 97-year-old Norman Lear.

“At my age, it’s nice to work with someone older than you,” Burrows joked.

Jason Cohen gave Disney Plus its first DGA award for the “Annie” episode of the reality program “Encore!” The winner for children’s programming was Amy Schatz for the HBO documentary “Song of Parkland.”

Assistant director Duncan S. Henderson (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) accepted the Frank Capra Achievement Award, and stage manager Arthur E. Lewis (“The Oscars”) took home the Franklin Schaffner award.

DGA president Thomas Schlamme opened the evening at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles with a robust tribute to the power of labor unions, lauding how Hollywood still “runs on unionized labor” in an environment increasingly hostile to union, and citing the DGA pension plan as a paragon of “democratic socialism.”

Schlamme also praised the efforts of the DGA to diversify the ranks of directors beyond white men: According to Schlamme, 50% of all directors working in TV in 2019 were women or people of color, up from 21% in 2014.

Judd Apatow hosted the evening, and opened with an 11-minute monologue that ranged from jokes about impossibly uncomfortable directors chairs to his wish that awards season would include attack ads. One possible ad Apatow pitched to the room: “I could have cut an hour out of ‘The Irishman’ with my eyes closed. I’m Bong Joon Ho and I approve this message.”

The winners are listed below:

Theatrical Feature Film

Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite” (Neon)
Mr. Bong’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Park Min Chul
First Assistant Director: Kim Seong Sik

WINNER: Sam Mendes, “1917” (Universal Pictures)
Mr. Mendes’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Callum McDougall, Hannah Godwin
First Assistant Director: Michael Lerman
Second Assistant Director: Joey Coughlin

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman” (Netflix)
Mr. Scorsese’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: John A. Machione, Carla Raij
First Assistant Director: David Webb
Second Assistant Director: Jeremy Marks
Second Second Assistant Director: Trevor Tavares
Additional Second Assistant Director: Ryan Robert Howard
Location Manager: Kip Myers

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” (Columbia Pictures)
Mr. Tarantino’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Georgia Kacandes, Nathan Kelly
First Assistant Director: William Paul Clark
Second Assistant Director: Christopher T. Sadler
Second Second Assistant Director: Brendan “Bear” Lee
Additional Second Assistant Directors: Debbie Chung, Katie Pruitt

Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Mr. Waititi’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Václav Mottl, Pavel Voráček
First Assistant Director: Mark Taylor
Second Assistant Director: Martina Götthansová
Second Second Assistant Director: Martina Frimelová

First-Time Feature Film

Mati Diop, “Atlantics” (Netflix)
Ms. Diop’s Directorial Team:
First Assistant Director: Vincent Prades

WINNER: Alma Har’el, “Honey Boy” (Amazon Studios)
Ms. Har’el’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: David Grace
First Assistant Director: Sean Vawter
Second Assistant Director: Colin Flaherty
Second Second Assistant Director: Sarah Balboa

Melina Matsoukas, “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
Ms. Matsoukas’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Pamela Hirsch, Max Berryhill (Los Angeles Unit)
First Assistant Directors: H.H. Cooper, Joe Suarez (Los Angeles Unit)
Second Assistant Directors: James Roque, Johnny Recher (Los Angeles Unit)
Second Second Assistant Directors: Sumner Boissiere, Tami Kumin (Ohio Unit)

Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (Roadside Attractions)
Mr. Nilson and Mr. Schwartz’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Manu Gargi
First Assistant Director: James Grayford
Second Assistant Director: Dee Jones
Second Second Assistant Director: Michael McKay

Joe Talbot, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24 Films)
Mr. Talbot’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Natalie Teter
First Assistant Director: Hilton J. Day
Second Assistant Director: Dominic Martin
Second Second Assistant Director: Jeremiah Kelleher
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Alex Gilbert

Documentary Feature Films

WINNER: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“American Factory” (Netflix)

Feras Fayyad
“The Cave” (National Geographic Documentary Films

Alex Holmes
“Maiden” (Sony Picture Classics)

Ljubomir Stefanov & Tamara Kotevska
“Honeyland” (Neon)

Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang
“One Child Nation” (Amazon Studios)

Dramatic Series

WINNER: Nicole Kassell, “Watchmen” (HBO)
“It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”
Ms. Kassell’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Karen Wacker, Ron Schmidt, Joseph E. Iberti
First Assistant Director: Keri Bruno
Second Assistant Directors: Lisa Zugschwerdt, Ben White
Second Second Assistant Director: Jessie Sasser White

Mark Mylod, “Succession” (HBO)
“This Is Not For Tears”
Mr. Mylod’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Tyson Bidner, Gabrielle Mahon
First Assistant Director: Christo Morse
Second Assistant Director: Michelle Flevotomas
Second Second Assistant Director: Nicholas Notte
Location Manager: Damon Gordon

David Nutter, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Last of the Starks”

Miguel Sapochnik, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Long Night”

Stephen Williams, “Watchmen” (HBO)
“This Extraordinary Being”
Mr. Williams’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Karen Wacker, Ron Schmidt, Joseph E. Iberti
First Assistant Director: Kayse Goodell
Second Assistant Director: Ben White
Second Second Assistant Director: Lance Resch-Anger

Comedy Series

Dan Attias, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime Video)
“It’s the Sixties, Man!”
Mr. Attias’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Dhana Rivera Gilbert, Nadia Paine (Oklahoma Unit)
First Assistant Directors: Jesse Nye, Steve Love (Oklahoma Unit)
Second Assistant Directors: Natasha Rivera, Jason Inman (Oklahoma Unit)
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Meghan K. Wicker
Second Second Assistant Director: Lincoln Major
Location Managers: Amanda Burbank, Jose Guerrero, Nick Thomason

WINNER: Bill Hader, “Barry” (HBO)
“ronny/lily”
Mr. Hader’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Aida Rodgers
First Assistant Director: Gavin Kleintop
Second Assistant Director: Kevin Zelman
Second Second Assistant Director: Heather Kehayas
Additional Second Assistant Director: Mikaela Mathern

David Mandel, “Veep” (HBO)
“Veep”
Mr. Mandel’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: David Hyman
First Assistant Director: Jeff Rosenberg
Second Assistant Director: Emily Hogan
Second Second Assistant Directors: Ismael Jimenez, Chalis Romero
Additional Second Assistant Directors: Phil Banks, Zach Davenport, Alexis Dvorak, Phil Goodrich, Christina Lee, Emily Neumann

Daniel Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime Video)
“Marvelous Radio”
Mr. Palladino’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Dhana Rivera Gilbert
First Assistant Director: Jesse Nye
Second Assistant Director: Natasha Rivera
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Meghan K. Wicker
Second Second Assistant Director: Lincoln Major
Location Managers: Amanda Burbank, Jose Guerrero, Nick Thomason

Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime Video)
“It’s Comedy or Cabbage”
Ms. Sherman-Palladino’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Dhana Rivera Gilbert, Nadia Paine
First Assistant Director: Mariela Comitini
Second Assistant Director: Luca Waldman
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Meghan K. Wicker
Second Second Assistant Director: Lincoln Major
Location Managers: Amanda Burbank, Jose Guerrero, Nick Thomason

Variety/Talk/News/Sports — Specials

WINNERS: James Burrows (“All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” – Directed by) and Andy Fisher (“Live in Front of a Studio Audience” – Directed by)
“Live in Front of a Studio Audience Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons'” (ABC)
Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Martin Pasetta Jr., Sara Niimi
Stage Managers: John Esposito, Valdez Flagg, Alissa Levisohn Hoyo, Harvey Levine, Doug Tobin, Richard Silva, Jenny Nolan Bailey

Spike Jonze, “Aziz Ansari: Right Now” (Netflix)
Mr. Jonze’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Chad Richard Nicholson
Stage Manager: Tate Nova

Stan Lathan, “Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones” (Netflix)
Mr. Lathan’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Myriam Leger
Stage Manager: Valdez Flagg

Linda Mendoza, “Wanda Sykes: Not Normal” (Netflix)
Ms. Mendoza’s Directorial Team:
Stage Manager: Arthur Lewis

Glenn Weiss, “The 91st Annual Academy Awards” (ABC)
Mr. Weiss’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Ken Diego, Eve Adair, Susan Kopensky, Lori Margules, Robin Mishkin Abrams, Sara Niimi, Michael Polito
Stage Managers: Gary Natoli, Rita Cossette, John Esposito, Valdez Flagg, Doug Fogel, Chris Hines, Alissa Levisohn Hoyo, Arthur Lewis, Roxanne Lozano, Ron Paul, Tammy Raab, Jason Seligman, Jackie Stathis, Cheryl Teetzel‑Moore, Debbie Williams, Ari Woog

Movies for Television and Limited Series

Ava DuVernay, “When They See Us” (Netflix)
Ms. DuVernay’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: John P. Fedynich, Amy Kaufman
First Assistant Director: H.H. Cooper
Second Assistant Director: Jamiyl Campbell
Second Second Assistant Director: Amrita Kundu
Additional Second Assistant Director: Kyler Griffin
Location Manager: Charlynne J. Hopson

Vince Gilligan, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (Netflix)
Mr. Gilligan’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Robin Le Chanu, Charles Newirth
First Assistant Director: John Wildermuth
Second Assistant Director: Katy Galow
Second Second Assistant Director: Nathan E. Davis
Additional Second Assistant Directors: Melissa Bosco-Laude, Chad Goyette

Thomas Kail, “Fosse/Verdon” (FX Networks)
“Nowadays”
Mr. Kail’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Erica Kay
First Assistant Director: Deanna Leslie Kelly
Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Kip Davis Meyers
Second Second Assistant Directors: Billy Brennan, Findlay Zotter
Location Manager: Ryan Smith

WINNER: Johan Renck, “Chernobyl” (HBO)

Minkie Spiro, “Fosse/Verdon” (FX Networks)
“All I Care About Is Love”
Ms. Spiro’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Erica Kay
First Assistant Director: Marcos González Palma
Second Assistant Director: Steven Lafferty
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Kip Davis Meyers
Second Second Assistant Directors: Billy Brennan, Findlay Zotter
Location Manager: Ryan Smith

Jessica Yu, “Fosse/Verdon” (FX Networks)
“Glory”
Ms. Yu’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Erica Kay
First Assistant Director: Deanna Leslie Kelly
Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Kip Davis Meyers
Second Second Assistant Directors: Billy Brennan, Findlay Zotter
Location Manager: Ryan Smith

Variety/Talk/News/Sports — Regularly Scheduled Programming

Paul G. Casey, “Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“1730”
Mr. Casey’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Stacy Talbot
Stage Managers: Patrick Whitney, Brian Anderson

Nora S. Gerard, “CBS Sunday Morning” (CBS)
“40th Anniversary”
Ms. Gerard’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Jessica Frank, Kate D’Arcy Coleman, Patricia Long Finnegan, Jyll Phillips-Friedman, Catherine Liberatore Kay
Stage Managers: Mark Dicso, Brian McGuire

Jim Hoskinson, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
“A. Ocasio-Cortez; Incubus”
Mr. Hoskinson’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Yvonne De Mare, Karen Yaeger
Stage Managers: Mark McKenna, Jeff Leib

WINNER: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“E. Murphy; Lizzo”
Mr. King’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Michael Mancini, Mike Poole
Stage Managers: Gena Rositano, Chris Kelly

Paul Pennolino, Christopher Werner, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
“SLAPP Suits”
Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Elliot Mendelson
Stage Managers: Mark McKenna, Craig Spinney, John Scott Wilson

Reality Programs

Hisham Abed, “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
“Black Girl Magic”

WINNER: Jason Cohen, “Encore!” (Disney Plus)
“Annie”
Mr. Cohen’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Daniel Shultz

Jon Favreau, “The Chef Show” (Netflix)
“Hog Island”
Mr. Favreau’s Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Annie Johnson

Ashley S. Gorman, “First Responders Live” (Fox)
“103”
Mr. Gorman’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Don Frillici, Dara DiGerolamo, Ryan Neary, Leslie Vincent
Stage Manager: Roy Friedland

Patric McManus, “American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“1116 Las Vegas National Finals Night 4”
Mr. McManus’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: David Massey, Sean Galvin
Stage Managers: Joseph R. Osborne, Wolfgang Delgado

Children’s Programs

Dean Israelite, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” (Nickelodeon)
“Part One: Submitted for Your Approval”
Mr. Israelite’s Directorial Team:
First Assistant Director: Pete Whyte

Jack Jameson, “Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Special” (HBO Documentary Films)
Mr. Jameson’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Yori Tondrowski, Ken Diego
Stage Managers: Frank Campagna, Phyllis Digilio-Kent, Shawn Havens, Theresa Anderson

Luke Matheny, “Ghostwriter” (Apple TV Plus)
“Ghost in Wonderland, Part 1”

WINNER: Amy Schatz, “Song of Parkland” (HBO Documentary Films)

Barry Sonnenfeld, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Netflix)
“Penultimate Peril: Part 1”

Commercials

Fredrik Bond (MJZ)
“Lighter Than Air,” HP Elite Dragonfly – Media Monks
Unit Production Manager: Line Postmyr
First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
“Take it Lightly,” Coca-Cola Light – Ingo
“Nap,” iPhone – Apple
Unit Production Manager: Line Postmyr
First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
Second Assistant Director: Heather Anderson

WINNER: Spike Jonze (MJZ)
“Dream It,” Squarespace – Squarespace
First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
“The New Normal,” Medmen – Mekanism
First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
Second Assistant Directors: David Marnell, Jeff Tavani

Mark Molloy (Smuggler)
“Underdogs,” Apple – Apple

Ridley Scott (RSA Films)
“The Seven Worlds,” Hennessy X.O. – DDB Paris

Dougal Wilson (Furlined)
“Train,” AT&T – BBDO NY
First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
Second Assistant Director: Aaron Fitzgerald

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