DGA is Coens', 'Country's' best friendo
EmptyUPDATED 4:10 p.m. PT Jan. 27
The directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen received the DGA Award for feature film directing Saturday, winning for their edgy thriller "No Country for Old Men."
The Coens picked up their award at the DGA Awards 60th anniversary gala, held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. It marked the first time the DGA Award went to a directing duo since 1961, when Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins were honored for helming "West Side Story."
"No Country" -- an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel -- is a co-production of distributor Miramax and Paramount Vantage.
First-time winners of the DGA Award, the Coens also figure among nominees in Oscar's directing category. "No Country" also is among the Academy Award nominees for best picture.
The DGA Award for feature film is a good indicator of who will win the best directing Oscar. Only six times in the past 59 years have the DGA and the Academy disagreed on their choice of helmers.
The DGA Award also is often a predictor of Oscar's best picture.
Other nominees in the DGA's feature film category this year included Tony Gilroy for "Michael Clayton," Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood" and Sean Penn for "Into the Wild."
Carl Reiner held forth as usual with his customary emcee improv. Even a planter near the awards podium served as fodder for one riff.
Josh Brolin, who introduced the Coens as they picked up a nomination medallion early in the night, also produced several well-received comic jibes. But he also shared certain insights of working with the fraternal directing team in acting on "No Country."
Brolin said he was happy to be asked to introduce "the directors who never -- and I mean never argue -- and never undermine each other."
Ethan Coen lauded the McCarthy novel on which the film was based, and Joel Coen thanked producer Scott Rudin for delivering the project.
"This is big in every respect," Joel Coen said, raising the sizable DGA Award aloft.
Elsewhere among evening's highlights, the audience applauded lustily at any reference to the DGA's recently secured new collective bargaining agreement. On Sunday, the DGA board unanimously approved the pact, which now goes to the members for ratification. Ballots must be returned by February 20.
DGA executive director Jay Roth, who helped negotiate the contract, received a lifetime achievement award from the guild. Roth has served in his post for 25 years after a long previous career as a private-practice labor attorney.
"We made important gains," DGA president Michael Apted said of the new pact, which some industry figures believe can be used as a template for ending the three-month writers strike.
The tentative contract delivers some clear messages to studios employers, Apted added. "The Internet is not for free, and we need to be paid for the use and reuse of our work," he said.
A complete list of DGA Award winners follows:
DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
"No Country for Old Men"
(Miramax Films and Paramount Vantage)
The Coens' Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Robert J. Graf
First Assistant Director: Betsy Magruder
Second Assistant Director: Bac DeLorme
Second Second Assistant Director: Jai James
This is Mr. Joel Coen's and Mr. Ethan Coen's first DGA Award. Joel Coen was previously nominated for Fargo (1996).
DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"
Mr. Simoneau's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager * US: Chrisann Verges
First Assistant Director * US: Cas Donovan
Second Assistant Director * US: Adam Martin
This is Mr. Simoneau's first DGA Award.
DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES NIGHT
"Mad Men" -- "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Pilot)"
Mr. Taylor's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Scott Hornbacher
First Assistant Director: Mark McGann
Second Assistant Director: Maggie Murphy
Second Second Assistant Director: John Silvestri
Second Assistant Director/Location Manager: April Taylor
This is Mr. Taylor's first DGA Award.
DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY SERIES
"Pushing Daisies" -- "Pie-lette"
Mr. Sonnenfeld's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Gabriela Vazquez
First Assistant Director: Chris Soldo
Second Assistant Director: Greg Hale
Second Second Assistant Director: Renee Hill-Sweet
This is Mr. Sonnenfeld's first DGA Award.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSICAL VARIETY
Glenn P. Weiss
"The 61st Annual Tony Awards"
Mr. Weiss' Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Gregg M. Gelfand, Robin Mishkin Abrams, Ken Diego, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry W. Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffrey Gitter, Dean Gordon, Arthur Lewis, Tony Mirante, Jeff Pearl, Rose Riggins, Lauren Class Schneider
This is Mr. Weiss' first DGA Award. He was previously nominated in 2006 for The 60th Annual Tony Awards, in 2005 for The 59th Annual Tony Awards, in 2002 for The 56th Annual Tony Awards, and in 2001 for The 55th Annual Tony Awards.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMS
Bertram Van Munster
"The Amazing Race" (Episode No. 1110)
Mr. Van Munster's Directorial Team:
Segment Director: Evan Weinstein
This is Mr. Van Munster's first DGA Award. He was previously nominated for The Amazing Race Episode No. 102" in 2006 and for "Episode No. 805" in 2005.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DAYTIME SERIALS
"One Life to Live" -- "Episode No. 9947"
Mr. Carpenter's Directorial Team:
Associate Director: Teresa Anne Cicala
Stage Managers: Alan P. Needleman, Keith Greer
Production Associate: Anthony Wilkinson
This is Mr. Carpenter's second DGA Award. He won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials for "One Life to Live" for Episode No. 8849 in 2003 and was also nominated for that series for "Episode No. 9686 in 2006, Episode No. 9385 in 2005 and Episode No. 8655 in 2002.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS
This is Mr. Hoen's first DGA Award. He was previously nominated in this same category for "Searching for David's Heart" in 2004 and the "Even Stevens" episode "Take My Sister ... Please" in 2000.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIALS
Production Company MJZ UK
Tipping Point, Guinness - BBDO
It's Magic, JC Penney - Saachi & Saachi NY
First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
Second Assistant Director: Kate Greenberg
Journey, Motorola - AMV BBDO
This is Mr. Fuglsig's first DGA Award.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DOCUMENTARY
"Ghosts of Cite Soleil"
Sony BMG Feature Films
This is Mr. Leth's first DGA Award.
2008 DGA SERVICE AND CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
Jay D. Roth -- DGA Honorary Life Membership Award
Given in Recognition of Service to the Directors Guild of America and Outstanding Creative Achievement.
Liz Ryan -- Frank Capra Achievement Award
For an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in Recognition of Career Achievement in the Industry and Service to the Directors Guild of America.
Barbara J. Roche -- Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award
For an Associate Director or Stage Manager in Recognition of Career Achievement in the Industry and Service to the Directors Guild of America.