Christopher Nolan has confirmed his position as a near-certainty for the best director Oscar after winning the top prize at the Directors Guild of America awards for Oppenheimer on Saturday.
Nolan’s rivals for the award, voted on by members of the US’s premier guild for film and TV directors, included Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon and Yorgos Lanthimos for Poor Things. Greta Gerwig was also in the running for Barbie, having failed to secure an Oscar nomination, but Nolan was the strong favourite, having already won a string of best director awards this year, including at the Golden Globes, and the American and Canadian Critics Choice awards.
With a significant membership overlap with Oscar voters, the DGA award is considered a reliable bellwether of the Academy Awards, with nine out of the last 10 winners going on to repeat the success at the Oscars. (The only recent exception was in 2020, when Sam Mendes won the DGA award for 1917, but lost out to Bong Joon-ho for Parasite at the Academy Awards.)
Celine Song was voted winner of the first time feature award for Past Lives – named as best film of 2023 by the Guardian’s film critics – though, like Gerwig, she did not achieve an Oscar nomination for best director. Ukrainian war documentary 20 Days in Mariupol posted a strong challenge for the best documentary Oscar after its director Mstyslav Chernov topped the DGA poll, overcoming Davis Guggenheim’s Still: A Michael J Fox Movie.
In the DGA’s TV section, The Bear and The Last of Us and carried off awards for best comedy and dramatic series respectively; the winner of the former, Christopher Storer, repeated his win at the Emmys, while the latter, Peter Hoar, defeated Mark Mylod, who had won the equivalent Emmy for Succession.
Table of Contents
Full list of winners
Best theatrical feature film Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Best first-time theatrical feature film Celine Song, Past Lives
Best documentary Mstyslav Chernov, 20 Days in Mariupol
Best dramatic series Peter Hoar, The Last of Us, (ep: Long, Long Time)
Best comedy series Christopher Storer, The Bear (ep: Fishes)
Best movies for television and limited series Sarah Adina Smith, Lessons in Chemistry, (ep: Her and Him)
Best variety/talk/news/sports – regularly scheduled programming Michael Mancini and Liz Patrick, Saturday Night Live, (ep: Pedro Pascal/Coldplay)
Best variety/talk/news/sports – specials Paul Miller, Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love
Best reality programmes Niharika Desai, Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss, (ep: Happiness is a Bottle of Cod Liver Oil)
Best children’s programmes Amy Schatz, Stand Up & Shout: Songs from a Philly High School
Best commercials Kim Gehrig – Run This Town, Apple Music/The Travelers, Expedia
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