Directors Guild of America: Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck Wins Top Prize at Directors Guild of America Awards

Directors Guild of America: Ben Affleck

Winning awards is the best revenge. Ben Affleck, snubbed for a best directing nomination by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, won the top prize from the Directors Guild of America last night at their annual gala.

Affleck keeps picking up awards for “Argo,” his two-hour thriller in which he stars as real-life C.I.A. operative Tony Mendez, who masterminded the historical rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

“Argo” was named best picture by the Producers Guild of America, best ensemble by the Screen Actors Guild, and earlier in the month, Affleck won for best directing at the Golden Globes.

All this puts “Argo” on track to win the top prize for an Oscar for Best Picture. The DGA win would normally also seal the deal for an Oscar for best director, but since he’s not even in the running, the question is whether that will affect the film’s best picture Oscar chances.

The fact is this is a crazy year, which is why it’s so interesting. The best picture Oscar is still up for grabs, although “Argo” looks like the frontrunner. An “Argo” Oscar for best picture might make the Academy look a little silly, but it would also make for a lot of fun.

Tom Hooper for “Les Miserables” and Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty” were also left off the best director list of nominations by the Academy. But both films seem to have dropped out of the Oscar chatter, while Affleck’s “Argo” is gaining strength as it keeps winning prizes.

Maybe the movie’s popularity is because of its snappy dialogue or the fact that the actor-turned-director is so darned likeable. Affleck is also so humble and funny during his speeches.

My favorite line from the film is a kind of  dig aimed at himself. “You can teach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day,” snorts John Chambers (John Goodman), a make-up artist for the cheesy sci-film film that is a ruse for the escape hatch to get the six hostages out or Iran.

The simple fact of why Affleck’s name was left off the Academy of Motion Pictures best director list could be because they look to the DGA nominations for guidance. Because the Oscars were pushed up two weeks this year, the Academy announced their nominations before the DGA announced their picks. That’s the easiest and most obvious explanation for his omission by the Academy. (The DGA also included Bigelow on their list.)

Other big winners last night included Lena Dunham  for best comedy series for “Girls,” Rian Johnson for best directing/dramatic series for “Breaking Bad: Fifty-One,” and Jay Roach for best television mini-series for “Game Change.”

Directors Guild of America – Complete List of Winners:


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Ben Affleck — “Argo” — WINNER
Kathryn Bigelow — “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tom Hooper — “Les Miserables”
Ang Lee — “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg — “Lincoln”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Alison Klayman — “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”
David France — “How to Survive a Plague”
Kirby Dick — “The Invisible War”
Lauren Greenfield — “The Queen of Versailles”
Malik Bendjelloul “Searching for Sugar Man” — WINNER


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series
Michael Rymer — “American Horror Story: Asylum”
Jay Roach — “Game Change” — WINNER
Kevin Reynolds — “Hatfields & McCoys”
Philip Kaufman — “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Greg Berlanti — “Political Animals”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series
Rian Johnson — “Breaking Bad” (“Fifty-One”) — WINNER
Michael Cuesta — “Homeland” (“The Choice”)
Lesli Linka Glatter — “Homeland” (“Q&A”)
Jennifer Getzinger — “Mad Men” (“A Little Kiss”)
Greg Mottola — “The Newsroom” (“We Just Decided To”)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series
Mark Cendrowski — “The Big Bang Theory” (“The Date Night Variable”)
Lena Dunham — “Girls” (“Pilot”) — WINNER
Louis C.K. — “Louie” (“New Year’s Eve”)
Bryan Cranston — “Modern Family” (“Election Day”)
Beth McCarthy-Miller — “30 Rock” (“Live from Studio 6H”)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety
Michael Dempsey — “2-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief”
Chuck O’Neil — “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
Don Mischer — “The 84th Annual Academy Awards”
Don Roy King — “Saturday Night Live”
Glenn Weiss — “The 66th Annual Tony Awards” — WINNER

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs
Tony Croll — “America’s Next Top Model” (“The Girl Who Becomes America’s Next Top Model”)
Peter Ney — “Face Off” (“Scene of the Crime”)
Brian Smith — “Master Chef” (“Episode #305”) — WINNER
J. Rupert Thompson — “Stars Earn Stripes” (“Amphibious Assault”)
Tim Warren — “Ink Master” (“Pasties and a Cameltoe”)

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials
Albert Alarr — “Days of Our Lives” (“Trapped”)
Larry Carpenter — “General Hospital” (“Bad Water”)
William Ludel — “General Hospital” (“Magic Milo”)
Scott Mckinsey — “General Hospital” (“Shot Through The Heart”)
Jill Mitwell — “One Life To Live” (“Between Heaven and Hell”) — WINNER

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs
Stuart Gillard — “Girl vs. Monster”
Paul Hoen — “Let it Shine” — WINNER
Savage Steve Holland — “Big Time Movie”
Jonathan Judge — “Camp Fred”
Amy Schatz — “Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce”

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials
Lance Acord (Park Pictures)
Steve Ayson (MJZ/The Sweet Shop)
Fredrik Bond (MJZ)
Alejandro G. Inarritu (Anonymous Content) — WINNER
Tom Kuntz (MJZ)


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