The 71st Annual DGA Awards are getting underway at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles, with Aisha Tyler as host.
Honoring the best in directing in feature film and television, tonight’s nominees for the top film award are Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Alfonso Cuarón for Roma, Peter Farrelly for Green Book, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman and Adam McKay for Vice.
Much attention is on tonight’s feature film winner as the guild award has been a top bellwether for the eventual best directing Oscar winner. Last year’s winner Guillermo del Toro went on to win the Academy Award in directing for The Shape of Water. The film won four Oscars in all, including best picture. The guild and Oscars have differed only seven times since the DGA started giving awards in 1949.
On the TV side, Ozark, Homeland, The Americans, Succession and The Handmaid’s Tale are nominated in the drama series category, while Atlanta, Barry, and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel will vie for the top comedy series honor.
Deadline is live-blogging the event, so follow along here as all the action unfolds.
He says maintaining the numbers is a challenge as the directors he gave platforms for at FX are being persued by other networks. He thanks “all media outlets for their commitment to their jobs at a time when real news is labelled as fake news.” He asks for a round of applause for Mo Ryan.
“Real change is possible. You just have to do it.”
Landgraf thanks journalist Maureen Ryan for exposing the poor standard of diversity at FX in a Variety piece and causing them to change their approach. “Facts don’t lie,” he says humbly. They used the piece as a jumping off point, “We decided to see what would happen if we saw diversity as an obligation, and more importantly as an opportunity.”
John Landgraf: “I hope each and every one of you get to have the opportunity to be in a room with more people you respect and admire than any room you’ve ever been in, and have them stand. It’s remarkable,” he says of the standing O.
Antonia’s typing fingers are on fire.
Barclay is here to present the DGA Diversity award to FX. It’s only been awarded five times total. “In the most recent television season, 53% of their directors were women and people of color, ” Barclay says. “So they looked around and they made the effort and they went from 12% to 53%…” FX is he says “a shining example of how one institution can change their culture.”
“Across all of the diversity committees,” Barclay says. “We worked hard to highlight the work of our members…that’s where I first learned of the power of solidarity and the commitment to changing minds that could happen…you probably heard that half of the Directors’ Guild are women and minorities” He also recalls the DW Griffith award and how he’d be embarrassed to offer that to Spike Lee today. “I’m sure he’d accept it gracefully, though.”
Paris Barclay, a previous DGA president comes on stage. “It’s good to be back” he says, then segues into….. “bring Barack back!”
“Be nice to your PAs” he says, remembering his time on the low rung of the ladder.
Bill Hader is a happy bunny. “I accept this on behalf of all the other directors who worked on the show,” he says. He also shouts out fellow nominee Hiro Mirai, “Who is a f-cking genius.”
WINNER – Best Comedy Series: Bill Hader, Barry “Chapter One: Make Your Mark”
“Is there anyway the video with directorial advice can be uploaded?” asks Anonymous in comments. We’re checking!
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are on stage to present best comedy series
This is the second British winner of the night. We’re having an osmotic effect.
“To do the best job in the world, I’m sure you’ll agree, to direct these shows, is absolutely fantastic,” Norman says as he recalls serving British tea in London and never believing he’d be here in “the mighty Hollywood”
WINNER – Best Reality Program: Russell Norman, The Final Table “Japan”
Brian Tyree Henry comes on stage to present for Reality
Barry Sonnenfeld, Ben Stiller, Bill Hader, Lesli Linka Glatter, Bradley Cooper, Diane Reid and Adam McKay in the Skype-recorded video. It isn’t as funny as Judd Apatow’s, but lots more pearls of directorial wisdom.
She steals Judd Apatow’s idea of going to directors to get their advice (she called herself out – but this is literally what he did last year, a little video piece)
Aisha Tyler is back. “Where does Bradley Cooper get off being so f–king lovely and charming? I mean it’s bad enough that looking at his face is like looking directly into the sun, but then he’s got to be passionate and sweet and devoted. Whatever! Whatever, blue eyes.”
“Intimacy is what I love about this,” Cooper says. “The intimacy in films, watching as a child, feeling like a part of it. What I didn’t know was that was the experience of making it as well….that’s the goal, it’s the humanity of making film. I have so much joy that I get to do this for a living. I’ll tell you something: I’m never going to stop.” So more to come from him then, clearly.
“I just can’t believe I’m a part of this group. I can’t believe I’m a part of this guild.”
When Tommy called him he “got off the phone quickly, because I started crying” Cooper says
He remembers his time toasting Clint Eastwood and David O. Russell at this event. Being here as a director means something to him, he says.
“Table 62, that’s the reason I’m up here” Cooper says, referring to his whole team
Also as a Brit (we’re taking over Deadline apparently) I enjoy how driving ceases to ‘work’ in this city when it’s wet
As a Brit, incidentally, I marvel at how Angelenos pay no mind to earthquakes, but as soon as a drop of rain falls the entire city sinks.
Phillips recalls working with Cooper on the Hangover trilogy, and says A Star is Born feels “handmade beautiful and intimate. It’s something a lot of filmmakers have to work at, but it seems to come naturally to Bradley.”
Phillips talks about Cooper’s dedication (bet his house isn’t falling down)
This is how dedicated Antonia is to the Deadline liveblog. Her house might literally be falling down right now.
Thanks for bringing that up Joe. Yeah Silverlake is sinking
“I just texted someone to check that it was true and they said it was….I haven’t needed to wear a tuxedo in ten years. I don’t get those kinds of invites”
Antonia is also having trouble with the rain in her house, but not in Malibu. Somewhere less fancy.
Todd Phillips is presenting to Bradley Cooper for Best Feature medallion because Sam Elliott is “having issues with the rain at his house in Malibu”
Aisha Tyler is back: “How much of f***ing rockstar is Kathleen McGill?”
“When any of us succeed,” McGill says, it is the DGA leadership “guiding us on.”
cadavra notes I misspelled Frank Capra my first time out the gate there. You’re right – it’s a fast moving evening, I am penning my resignation forthwith.
“The acceptance speech of this season always includes a thank you to my team, and for the Frank Capra award it is truly appropriate. I would not be here without all the tlaented teams I’ve worked with over the years.”
McGill gets a standing ovation as she wipes away a few tears on the podium
Kathleen McGill takes to the stage.
“That’s the look she always wore when she had pulled off the really tricky s**t. I realize I had been McGilled” Howard recalls of a particular time working with McGill.
She also did Da Vinci Code and Frost/Nixon, Howard notes. A Beautiful Mind, “kind of describes Kathy.”
She’s a UPM on films like X-Men and Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, if the name is unfamiliar.
Ron Howard comes out to present the Frank Kapra Award to Kathleen McGill.
Ron Howard: “Not for nothing but I still yell, “Action and cut”
PS, do feel free to jump in on comments – we’ll highlight the best (and most complimentary to us) ones!
“I came tonight for one reason and that is to celebrate the Lifetime Achievement winner Don Mischer”
Mike M in the comments wonders why the DGA isn’t livestreaming the awards. It’s a good question, Mike, but fear not. We’ll have video from all the key speeches.
This is his 19th DGA nom.
Horvitz: “I don’t have any funny things to say, but thank you to my sisters and brothers for 40 years in the DGA…thank you for the affirmation on this particular show, it was a tough one.”
It’s an directors’ award for a director of an awards show!
WINNER – Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (Specials): Louis J. Horvitz, The 60th Grammy Awards
This is King’s 13th DGA nom and he credits Michael Poole as, “The finest AD in television” before thanking his daughter Cameron who’s studying directing, for telling him who the musical guests are each week, “so I can pretend to know who they are”
“One quick aside,” King says, “I noticed Stan Lathan is a presenter tonight and Stan and I were in a play together in 1967. I had one line, which was, ‘Who me?’”
WINNER – Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (regularly scheduled programming): Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live “Adam Driver; Kanye West”
Crazy Rich Asians star Constance Wu
Constance Wu comes on to present to Variety/ Talk/ News/ Sports (Regularly scheduled and specials Series)
“The true cinema wilfully ignores walls, both real and imagined,” Cuaron says, nodding to Trumpian politics. “There are more than 70 million domestic workers in the world, that number doesn’t include children. In the end, Roma was a story about one of them.” Many were migrants, “and when we villianize them, call them criminals and rapists, we diminish ourselves. This isn’t about politics, this is about humanity.”
He takes a moment to thank the achievement of his ADs.
He thanks Billy Wilder and his ‘brothers’ Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro. He says he stands on the shoulders of the masters of cinema. “I also stand here on the shoulders of my DGA team.”
He thanks the DGA, and everyone laughs because he’s discarded the sheet. “Somehow I got there very quickly, telepathically.”
‘Roma’ director Alfonso Cuaron
“Oh I have a teleprompter, this is amazing,” discovers Cuaron.
“Thank you, thank you Alfonso, for employing your specific point of view for audiences in this divided time,” says de Tavira as Alfonso steps up.
“Yalitza’s mother is a domestic worker, and she dedicates her performance to her and thanks Alfonso for shining a light on a character that is often in the shadows,” de Tavira translates for Aparicio.
OK we’re into the medallions. These are awarded to each of the five feature film nominees. Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira emerge to fete Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. “He uses his skill as a director and master storyteller to present a vivid cinematic portrait to inspire empathy,” says de Tavira.
He thanks the entire cast and crew “both human and muppet”.
WINNER – CHILDREN’S PROGRAMS – Jack Jameson – When You Wish Upon a Pickle, a Sesame Street Special
But they can’t pull off the win…
A Series of Unfortunate Events is dominating here with three noms.
Tony Hale emerges to present Children’s Programming
She really got the crowd riled up with that speech. Turns out swearing really is hilarious.
Tyler is so happy to be a DGA member. “Man the insurance is so f***ing good Holy shit. F**k that SAG shit, Holy f***ing shit a $50 co-pay. What the f**k?….is this insurance or a shakedown?”
She shouts out the ADs, and the UPMs, and the production managers, and “that other guy”.
Alfonso is laughing in the audience at the bit about someone else saying cut “and s**t”
“Making a movie is f-cking hard, bro. It requires passion, dedication and vision. And intense willingness to let some dude drive you to and from work every day, while someone else cuts the crust off the sandwich, and a third person yells ‘action’ and ‘cut’ for you so you can save your vocal chords for some super important art or sh-t.”
“It’s about making our business as robust and vigorous and as intensely challenging as we can make it”
She gets serious on diversity. “This isn’t about quotas or charity, because this has never been a fair business. It’s about bringing unique points into the storytelling arena so we don’t keep making the same films over and over and over again.”
“Not like a ‘We’re all going to die’ dumb.”
“There’ve never been more opportunities for us directors to make our mark on this business, on the culture, and on the world.” She quotes George W. Bush, “The pie is literally higher for all of us.” She says of Bush, “You all f-cking miss him now, don’t you? He was dumb but he was cute dumb.”
Tonight’s host, Aisha Tyler
“We’ve got five white guys, two black guys and two Latino guys. I love the smell of a multi-ethnic swordfight in the morning!”
This is a ribald speech. Probably the most unfettered we’ve witnessed this season.
Spike Lee- wearing a natty red hat – rolls his eyes comically in the audience when she makes the Ronan Farrow comment and everyone laughs
“It’s been a shocking year, as people we all knew were total f-cking scumbags are finally exposed for being total f-cking scumbags. Honestly, for me, it’s a real relief to know that if you work with a jerk and you bring it up to peers and HR and anyone who will listen, eventually Mia Farrow’s son will track down 20 other people who say the exact same thing and he’ll publish a piece about it and people will finally, maybe, believe you.”
“I think we all know how f***ed up shit is. I don’t want to remind you and ruin your weird fish dinner. So I’ll summarize our weird political climate this way dumpster fire, we’re all swimming in fecal matter so everybody start f***ing because we’re all going to die. News at 11.” Thanks for the cheery note Aisha
“As a newly minted member of the DGA, I’m here with my peers to celebrate my craft and do what we directors do best, which is to dress up and congratulate ourselves on how brilliant we are, while other people bring us room temperature food,” she says.
“On with the show!” Schlamme says. “Criminal Minds and Friends – that’s not just a nickname for the Trump administration, but two of the many projects our host this evening has been a part of….
Here comes Aisha Tyler with a political intro from Schlamme…
The DGA are developing a feature director mentorship initiative modelled after their “highly successful” TV program to change the culture and bring equality and diversity….
TV is changing he says, but in feature film, 9% women and 8% people of color.
The industry is “A closed, dated ecosystem that disadvantages women and people of color at every level,” he says. “It’s something the DGA has been working to change.”
Over 17,000 members of the DGA will enjoy a picture of Nora Ephron on their DGA cards this year!
“The work that we do and the meaning that it carries for audiences feels all the more important right now” he adds
“the world is a divided and often dangerous place,” says Schlamme as he passes on his thoughts to Jussie Smollet for a speedy recovery.
“If your director is called tonight you are invited, actually expected to join them and come up on stage,” he says to stage managers, AD et al
“There’s nothing more meaningful than being recognized by your family,” he says of the DGA
Thomas Schlamme, the president of the DGA, emerges.
I tried Shazam but it took too long
And that’s as much pop culture knowledge as you’ll get out of me tonight.
Siri tells me that the song this montage is set to is, “I can’t seem to recognize this song.”
The show kicks off with the customary montage moment running down the past 12 months in film and TV. Is there an awards show checklist for these things? If so, has the Academy misplaced its copy in recent months?
Absolutely. This combined with what we saw at Critics’ Choice and SAG will be pretty telling for the top spots of Best Picture and Best Director (obviously on the latter one)
He would seem to be the frontrunner for Roma, but it’s a funny year and an upset could be possible from anybody. This will be an important night for divining the Oscar tea leaves.
Maybe Boots Riley for first-time director?
Antonia, what’s your take on the nominations list? Who will walk away with top prize?
I’ll be your guide for tonight’s directorial deluge, with my fellow Brit Antonia Blyth on point next to me.
Welcome to the DGA Awards, from a new venue: the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.