DGA Awards: Sam Mendes and '1917' Win Best Feature Film

7:30 PM 1/25/2020

by THR Staff

'Honey Boy' and Alma Har'el won best first-time feature-film at the awards ceremony, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

'1917'
'1917'
François Duhamel/Universal Pictures

The 72nd annual Directors Guild of America Awards were handed out Saturday night, and 1917's Sam Mendes took home the top honor of best feature film.

Mendes was up against Parasite's Bong Joon Ho, The Irishman's Martin Scorsese, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's Quentin Tarantino and Jojo Rabbit's Taika Waititi — all of whom Mendes shouted out in his acceptance speech.

"Instead of talking about directors of the past, I'm just gonna talk about these four," he began. "I'll thank Quentin for making a movie so full of love — love for these characters, love for the period, love for the movies, and love for the city. I want to thank Taika Waititi for proving that history can be told with wit and mischief and joy."

Continued Mendes, "I want to thank Bong Joon Ho for making the best, hands-down, the best movie about what it is to be poor, that I have ever seen. And I want to thank, of course, Martin Scorsese for putting it all on the table in The Irishman, for the lifetime of work that led up to that final scene with [Robert ]De Niro that left us alone in that desolate place waiting and hoping for redemption. He is a master."

After revealing that his young daughter inspired an emotional scene in his war drama, Mendes ultimately dedicated the award to her "and to what she might become."

The category for best feature film was notably devoid of any female helmers' work, with such hopefuls as Little Women's Greta Gerwig, The Farewell's Lulu Wang, Harriet's Kasi Lemmons and Hustlers' Lorene Scafaria failing to land a nomination. 

DGA president Thomas Schlamme alluded to the issue during the ceremony: "I caution us to use awards as the barometer, the only barometer, of progress — it’s just one measure. Doing so overlooks the hard work by so many." He added that the fight for equality is one that the DGA has "led for many years."

The first-time feature-film directing category — which Honey Boy's Alma Har'el ultimately won — had a more diverse slate of nominees, including Atlantics' Mati Diop, Queen & Slim's Melina Matsoukas, The Peanut Butter Falcon's Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz and The Last Black Man in San Francisco's Joe Talbot.

The DGA also recognized a number of television shows in the categories of comedy and drama series and variety/talk/news/sports – specials. Watchmen and Barry triumphed in their respective categories, beating out Game of Thrones and The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselAdditionally, Jason Cohen won the reality programs award for Encore!'s "Annie" episode, granting Disney+ its first major creative honor.

The awards dinner came just after more than 50 directors petitioned the DGA for parental leave reform — an effort spearheaded by Jessica Dimmock, who lost her health insurance and benefits while taking time off after giving birth to her child in 2017.

See the complete list of winners below.

  • Feature Film

    Sam Mendes (WINNER)
    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

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

    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

    Alma Har'el (WINNER)
    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

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

    Melina Matsoukas
    Queen & Slim
    (Universal Pictures)
    Ms. Matsoukas's Directorial Team:
    Unit Production Managers: Pamela Hirsch, Max Berryhill (Los Angeles Unit)
    First Assistant Directors: HH 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 Shwartz
    The Peanut Butter Falcon
    (Roadside Attractions)
    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

  • Comedy Series

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Barry, "ronny/lily," (HBO) (WINNER)
    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

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, "It's the Sixties, Man!" (Prime Video)
    Mr. Attias’ 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

    Veep, "Veep," (HBO)
    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

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, "It's Comedy or Cabbage," (Prime Video)
    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

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, "Marvelous Radio," (Prime Video)
    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

  • Dramatic Series

    Nicole Kassell, Watchmen, "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice," (HBO) (WINNER)
    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, "This Is Not For Tears," (HBO)
    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

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

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

    Stephen Williams, Watchmen, "This Extraordinary Being," (HBO)
    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

  • Movies for Television and Limited Series

    Johan Renck (WINNER)
    Chernobyl
    (HBO)

    Ava DuVernay
    When They See Us
    (Netflix)
    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)
    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, "Nowadays"
    (FX Networks)
    Kail's Directorial Team:
    Unit Production Manager: Erica Kay
    First Assistant Director: Deanna Leslie Kelly
    Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson
    Second Second Assistant Directors: Billy Brennan, Findlay Zotter
    Location Manager: Ryan Smith

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

    Jessica Yu
    Fosse/Verdon, "Glory"
    (FX Networks)
    Yu's Directorial Team:
    Unit Production Manager: Erica Kay
    First Assistant Director: Deanna Leslie Kelly
    Second Assistant Director: Brad Robinson
    Second Second Assistant Directors: Billy Brennan, Findlay Zotter
    Location Manager: Ryan Smith

  • Variety/Talk/News/Sports (Specials)

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Live in Front of a Studio Audience Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons,' James Burrows, Andy Fisher (WINNERS)
    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

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

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

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

    The 91st Annual Academy Awards (ABC), Glenn Weiss
    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

  • Variety/Talk/News/Sports (Regularly Scheduled Programming)

    Dan MacMedan/WireImage

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

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

    Nora S. Gerard
    CBS Sunday Morning, "40th Anniversary"
    (CBS)
    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, "A. Ocasio-Cortez; Incubus"
    (CBS)
    Hoskinson's Directorial Team:
    Associate Directors: Yvonne De Mare, Karen Yaeger
    Stage Managers: Mark McKenna, Jeff Leib

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

  • Reality Programs

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Jason Cohen (WINNER)
    Encore!, "Annie"
    (Disney+)
    Cohen's Directorial Team:
    Associate Director: Daniel Shultz

    Hisham Abed
    Queer Eye, "Black Girl Magic"
    (Netflix)

    Jon Favreau
    The Chef Show, "Hog Island"
    (Netflix)
    Favreau's Directorial Team:
    Associate Director: Annie Johnson

    Ashley S. Gorman
    First Responders Live, "103"
    (Fox)
    Gorman's Directorial Team:
    Associate Directors: Jamie Marshall Bennett, Don Frillici, Ryan Neary
    Stage Manager: Roy Friedland

    Patrick McManus
    American Ninja Warrior, "1116 Las Vegas National Finals Night 4"
    (NBC)
    McManus' Directorial Team:
    Associate Directors: David Massey, Sean Galvin
    Stage Managers: Joseph R. Osborne, Wolfgang Delgado

  • Children's Programs

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Amy Schatz (WINNER)
    Song of Parkland
    (HBO Documentary Films)

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

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

    Luke Matheny
    Ghostwriter, "Ghost in Wonderland, Part 1"
    (Apple TV+)

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

  • Commercials

    Spike Jonze (WINNER)
    (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

    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

    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

  • Documentary

    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (WINNERS)
    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)