DGA Awards win pushes ‘Power of the Dog’ to Oscar
Overwhelmingly, the DGA award winner tends to win both the Directing and Best Picture Oscars.
Little did we suspect that Jane Campion wouldn’t win the Directors Guild of America’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Directing a Theatrical Feature for “The Power of the Dog.” Usually, at this point in the game, two weeks away from the Oscars, director Jane Campion’s Golden Globe statuette would have already been preceded by other awards that, in this pandemic-delayed year, are yet to come: the Critics Choice awards. and BAFTA will be handed out on Sunday March 13, with the PGA still to come.
Academy voters will cast their ballots between March 17 and March 22. Campion follows last year’s winner Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) as the third woman to win the DGA award (along with Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”) and the first to be nominated twice, as she is for the Oscar.
When “The Power of the Dog” failed to land a SAG Ensemble nomination (but did score three acting nominations, followed by four Oscar acting spots), it paved the way for Sian’s “CODA.” Heder to win this award. But the DGA’s victory for “The Power of the Dog” gives him a clear lead in the race for best film and director. Mostly, the winner of the DGA wins the Oscar for best director. Only eight times in 72 years has this not happened. And most often – 55 times – the DGA winner’s film also wins Best Picture.
Each of the nominees at Saturday’s ceremony gave a presentation on their film, including Campion in a white suit, who honored fellow directors; she also dissed “The Power of the Dog” naysayer Sam Elliott on the red carpet. “I remember being the only woman in the room. It’s time to put that behind,” Campion said.
Accepting her award at the end of a show that lasted more than three and a half hours, Campion reminisced about her Oscar nominees Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst and thanked her assistant director for helping ease her fears about the mounting such a daunting production. “I don’t know how to make a movie,” she told him. Speaking to her presenter, last year’s winner Chloe Zhao, she said, “I was so proud of her last year. That’s why I’m here. I also care about women and their voices. I’m excited for the next generation of filmmakers, Maggie Gyllenhaal has made such a wonderful film.
After Kathryn Bigelow presented the director’s medallion to “Dune” filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, he thanked Spielberg for inspiring a young boy to put his name on his hockey jersey. “After all these years, you are still an inspiration to me,” he said. At the pre-party, Villeneuve producer Herbert W. Gains looked forward to the “Dune” team, with ten Oscar nominations in addition to multiple craft accolades, no longer distracted by the awards circuit. “Dune 2” is in full pre-production in Budapest, aiming for a summer start.
Also trying to meet a deadline is Michael Sarnoski (“Pig”), nominated for best first director, who is writing and directing a spin-off “Quiet Place” for Paramount.
Chris Nolan has provided an introductory video to his ‘Dunkirk’ star Kenneth Branagh (‘Belfast’), who attended the Saturday morning DGA symposium with fellow nominees before heading to London for the BAFTAs. In a video message, Branagh recalls joining the DGA in 1990 just before his “Dead Again” directorial debut. He ordered a DGA backpack and a baseball cap which he still wears today.
‘West Side Story’ director Spielberg, with 12 DGA nominations behind him, got a heartfelt introduction from 90-year-old Rita Moreno. “We had more to say,” Spielberg said, “with help from Tony Kushner. We went deep with everyone and told a story from today, not 60 years ago. It was scary to take that, it was terrifying. ‘It’s just too dangerous, what if I screw it up?’ This is my sixth decade as a member of the DGA.
Sean Penn tested positive for Covid, ironically for someone who helped make vaccines available; and therefore could not present to Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”). “Steven, you got enough attention tonight,” Anderson joked, praising his fellow nominees.
The winner of this year’s DGA Award for Outstanding Achievement in a First Feature Film went to Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter” (Netflix), accompanied by her father Stephen, a longtime DGA member. She will ask him to sponsor her, with Steven Spielberg. “It’s a community I’ve always wanted to be a part of,” Gyllenhaal said. “There weren’t many people ahead of me. If I had a hockey jersey, I would have put Jane Campion on it. “The piano” changed my life. »
Gyllenhaal is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and her DGA win, along with her three Independent Spirit Awards, bolsters her case for victory.
The award has already been won by Darius Marder, Alex Garland, Jordan Peele, Bo Burnham and Alma Har’el. Burnham was in the house again as a nominee for “Bo Burnham: Inside,” but lost to Paul Dugdale for directing the “Adele: One Night Only” special.
Stanley Nelson’s jaw-dropping “Attica,” winner of the DGA Best Documentary Award, beat out Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s “Summer of Soul,” which was on a winning streak. Both are Oscar nominees. Nelson thanked his co-director Traci Nelson.
Looking ahead, Sunday’s BAFTA race will be less predictive than usual in the directing and acting categories, due to the inclusive jury vote that failed to name many Oscar nominees, including Olivia Colman ( “The Lost Daughter”), Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”), Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) and director Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story”). “The Power of the Dog” and “Belfast” are set to pick up multiple BAFTA wins.
Last year, “Nomadland”, a BAFTA winner for best picture, actress and director, won the same trifecta at the Oscars. Netflix would like to think that means Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” could repeat itself, while replacing Benedict Cumberbatch for Best Actor.
Ernest Dickerson presented Spike Lee with the DGA’s highest honour, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Feature Film, which is selected by current and past Guild presidents. “A kid from Brooklyn? Who would have thought,'” said Lee, who featured a lengthy slideshow covering his family history and much of his filmography. Lee introduced his daughter and son and thanked his wife Tanya for her support. (His documentary “Aftershock” won the Jury Prize at Sundance and is screening tonight at SXSW.) And he thanked his grandmother for taking him through Morehouse and NYU Film School and giving him start-up funds for his first film “She’s Gotta Have It”. His parents loved movies, he says.
In the video, Martin Scorsese emotionally honored his assistant director Joseph P. Reidy, winner of the DGA’s Frank Capra Excellence Award, calling their relationship over 15 films together a “sacred bond”, and citing in particular the bravery of Copacabana shot in “Les Affranchis”. Reidy received an enthusiastic standing ovation. Garry W. Hood went home with the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award for associate director or stage manager.