… for the TV drama Succession.
Thankfully, he did not win the Feature Film prized from the Directors Guild of America. That went to the maestro behind Roma, Alfonso Cuaron. As expected. Even against Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman – though there were glimmers of optimists citing the latter could pounce. Now the dust on that pipe dream settles, perhaps you can accept it was wishful thinking. Right, Tom O Neil?
As for Adam McKay (Vice), and Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Cuaron’s competition was vastly reduced. I am still haunted by the absence of Yorgos Lanthimos in the line-up, but the wins here at the 71st DGA awards are comforting consolations. The Mexican filmmaker, marking the fifth win for the nation’s helmers in six years, was always winning this. We can go back to November, hey, even October, when Mr Cuaron was handed the front-runner status. And you know it.
And within minutes of the big announcement, the echoes from social media were weary and, from my perspective, somewhat frowned upon. Folk jumping on the Roma bandwagon, as though the DGA win was a unprecedented fast-ball. Well, it was in some way, a pitch hurled hard into the balls of those that were still finding ways to write-off Cuaron. Because he is foreign. The film is black and white. How can the Academy accept Netflix? Stats say this, stats say that. Yawn, yawn, and some more yawns.
What Oscar predictors lack in some areas, is the courage of their convictions. I don’t doubt many of them believed Roma was heading for the big Oscar prizes, but the game they are in, we are in, is not always one where our personal judgement nucleus can dictate.
The Oscar game is one with rules. We are reminded of this with every new statistic that crawls out from the voting stratosphere. It seems every single award announcement opens a brand new door. Or an old door. Or one ajar. Whether all of these doors actually lead anywhere viable is an endless topic.
Yes, I know, I am swallowing myself up in the darn politics of awards season as I write this.
So what else? Oh yeah, Bo Burnham won the First-Time Feature Film prize for Eighth Grade. Though you wouldn’t have guessed, what with all the varied-in-size violins playing just for Bradley Cooper. Poor guy, constantly reminded he was unable to pick up any momentum in the Best Director critics awards run, then gets snubbed by the Academy. And now walks away empty-handed in both feature film categories with the DGA. I do hope he is okay. The new dawn of film encouragement, Film Twitter, has been sending all their best thoughts, flowers, and hand-written greetings card, for hours now. Hang in there.
As Lady Gaga likely told him after the ceremony, “there can be 100 directors in a room, and 99 don’t believe in you, but it only takes 1 – well, actually you need a hefty majority to win. Scratch that. Let’s write a song about this.” Easy for you to say, Stefani, you have had Best Song in the bag for months, at least. Looks like Bradley is not bound for an Oscar win, when he once had so many potential nods.
Cooper was nominated in the first-time category alongside Carlos Lopez Estrada for Blindspotting, Matthew Heineman for A Private War, and Boots Riley for Sorry to Bother You. And with Bo Burnham, the A Star Is Born director is joined by a company of filmmakers whose films have been driven by audience passion throughout the season, but nowhere near the commercial acknowledgement Cooper’s film has been dripping in. This was a far greater win for Bo than it was a loss for Cooper. Period.
And let’s not for get the Documentary Prize. Another Oscar absentee, Tim Wardle, won for Three Identical Strangers. A ridiculously great year for documentaries, the likes of Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (also no Oscar nomination), and RBG, were also nominated. A great win for Wardle, when you look at the documentary features not nominated with the DGA this year.
Here are the film DGA Awards winners:
BRADLEY COOPER, A Star Is Born
ALFONSO CUARON, Roma
PETER FARRELLY, Green Book
SPIKE LEE, BlacKkKlansman
ADAM MCKAY, Vice
MORGAN NEVILLE, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
RAMELL ROSS, Hale County This Morning, This Evening
ELIZABETH CHAI VASARHELYI & JIMMY CHIN, Free Solo
TIM WARDLE — Three Identical Strangers
BETSY WEST & JULIE COHEN, RBG
FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM
BO BURNHAM, Eighth Grade
BRADLEY COOPER, A Star Is Born
CARLOS LOPEZ ESTRADA, Blindspotting
MATTHEW HEINEMAN, A Private War
BOOTS RILEY, Sorry to Bother You