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Tom Hooper won the Directors Guild of America’s award for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film at the 63rd annual DGA Awards Saturday night as The King’s Speech gathered further momentum in its awards season quest.
The Weinstein Co. release also took the top prize at the Producers Guild of America’s awards ceremony last weekend, and on Tuesday led the field by capturing 12 Academy Awards nominations.
British-born Hooper was previously nominated by the DGA in its television miniseries category for HBO’s John Adams in 2008, but this was his first feature film nomination. “Oh my god,” Hooper exclaimed as he accepted the prize for Speech, thanking his cast and crew and the DGA before concluding, “I’m overwhelmed.” Earlier in the evening, he also acknowledged his mother for first telling him about writer David Seidler’s play, which became the basis of the movie, and his father, who was present, for supporting his directorial ambitions when he was just a kid.
He now becomes the front-runner to capture the Oscar for best director since on only six occasions since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the DGA winner failed to go on to win the Oscar for best director. It also gives Speech added momentum in its best picture Oscar quest, as Hopper triumphed over the evening’s other film nominees: Black Swan‘s Darren Aronofsky, The Social Network‘s David Fincher, Inception‘s Christopher Nolan and The Fighter‘s David O. Russell.
Top honors for feature documentary went to Charles Ferguson‘s Inside Job, a comprehensive critique of the 2008 financial melt-down. “It didn’t make me too many friends in the investment banking community,” he admitted, crediting Sony Pictures Classics for supporting the picture and giving him “real final cut” as well as contractual final cut.
Already a three-time DGA winner for his work in television, Mick Jackson picked up his fourth DGA trophy in the movie-for-television category for HBO’s much-lauded Temple Grandin, a portrait of a pioneering autistic woman. “Movies do matter,” he said during his turn at the podium. “They do tell us stories that not only move us, but tell us about ourselves and who we are.”
Although Martin Scorsese flew to Los Angeles for the dinner, held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, illness prevented him from attending. Noting that Scorsese is filming his new movie Hugo Cabret in 3D, fellow director Steven Spielberg couldn’t resist joking, “I’m certain that’s what’s given him pneumonia.” Still, Scorsese was victorious in absentia, earning the TV drama series prize for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, whose pilot episode he directed. It was his second DGA win, following his feature directing nod for The Departed in 2006. Presenter Jennifer Lawrence read words of thanks from Scorsese, in which he said the series was “one of the greatest and most energizing experiences I’ve had in 45 years of making movies. Thank you — and get your flu shots.”
In the TV comedy series category, Michael Spiller earned his first DGA Award for the Halloween episode of ABC’s Modern Family. “What an amazing honor,” he said, although he admitted that having begun the day at the DGA’s directing panel in the morning before sitting through the marathon, three-and-one-half hour awards dinner, “I’m not used to working these sorts of hours.”
The envelopes also contained the names of three other first time DGA winners: Eytan Keller, who got the nod in reality programs for an episode of the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef; Stacy Wall, for commercials for Nike, Adidas and Microsoft; and Eric Bross for the children’s program, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf, from Nickelodeon.
ABC’s One Life to Live director Larry Carpenter took home his third DGA Award for his work in daytime serials, and Glenn Weiss collected his second award in the musical variety category for directing the 64th Annual Tony Awards on CBS.
The evening, hosted by Carl Reiner, marked the beginning of the DGA’s year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary. The program opened with a compilation of film clips, entitled Director’s Cut, assembled by Chuck Workman. And it featured a series of short films on the theme of Game Changers, illustrating the DGA’s history, that were produced, written and directed by Michael Stevens, the grandson of noted director George Stevens and son of producer George Stevens Jr.
An all-star line-up of directing talent introduced the short films: Spielberg, last year’s DGA feature film winner Kathryn Bigelow, Clint Eastwood, John Rich, Francis Ford Coppola and James Cameron. Joining DGA president Taylor Hackford in offering a 75th anniversary toast were Michael Apted, Gil Cates, Steven Soderbergh and Paris Barclay.
Hackford, who kicked off the night by praising the guild’s newly ratified contract for winning increased contributions to the DGA’s health plan, said the year-long celebration is designed to show “the entire breadth and diversity” of the union’s 14,500 members. And he concluded at the end of the night, “I hope you all have learned something tonight about your guild,” before raising a glass to the next 75 years.
The complete list of winners are:
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Production manager: Erica Bensly
First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling
MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES
Mick Jackson, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Unit Production Manager: Scott Ferguson
First Assistant Director: Philip Hardage
Second Assistant Director: Shawn Pipkin
Second Second Assistant Directors: Kayse Goodell, Richard E. Chapla Jr., Robbie Friedmann
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Glen Moorman
Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Takahide Kawakami
Second Second Assistant Director: Patrick McDonald
Additional Second Assistant Director: Sal Sutera
Second Assistant Director/Location Managers: April Taylor, Regina Heyman
DGA Trainee: Jamiyl Ihsaan Campbell
Michael Spiller, Modern Family (ABC)
Unit Production Manager: Sally Young
First Assistant Director: Alisa Statman
Second Assistant Director: Helena Lamb
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew Heffernan
Charles Ferguson, Inside job (Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics)
Glenn Weiss, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Associate Directors: Gregg Gelfand, Robin Abrams, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffrey Gitter, Dean Gordon, Phyllis Digilio Kent, Arthur Lewis, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elise Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
Larry Carpenter, One Life to Live, “Episode #10,687”
Associate Directors: Teresa Anne Cicala, Tracy Casper Lang, Paul S. Glass, Mary Ryan, Jen Pepperman, Barry Gingold
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer, Brendan Higgins
Production Associates: Kevin Brush, Nathalie Rodriguez
Eytan Keller, The Next Iron Chef, “Episode #301” (Food Network)
Segment Director: Stephen Kroopnick
Stage Managers: Tom Borgnine, Seth Mellman
Stacy Wall (Imperial Woodpecker)
“Rise,” Nike – Wieden & Kennedy/Portland
First Assistant Director: Bac DeLorme
Second Assistant Director: Steve Del Prete
Second Second Assistant Director: Kenny Hanson
“Really?,” Microsoft – Crispin Porter & Bogusky/Boulder
First Assistant Directors: Miles Johnstone, Doug Halbert
Second Assistant Director: Michael Brawer
“Slim Chin & D Rose,” Adidas – 180LA
First Assistant Director: Dave Dean
Second Assistant Director: Carl Jackson
“Handshake,” Nike – Wieden & Kennedy/Portland
First Assistant Directors: Miles Johnstone, Scott Metcalfe
Second Assistant Director: Michael Brawer
Eric Bross, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)