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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. Maisel. Additionally, 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.
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