La La Land’s Damien Chazelle wins di­rec­tors guild award

The Hamilton Spectator - - A & E - CARA BUCK­LEY

Damien Chazelle, the film­maker be­hind “La La Land,” won the best fea­ture prize at the Di­rec­tors Guild of Amer­ica Awards Satur­day night in Los An­ge­les, push­ing the whim­si­cal mu­si­cal front-run­ner ever closer to a best pic­ture Os­car win.

The awards doled out by the ma­jor in­dus­try groups, which in­clude the ac­tors’, pro­duc­ers’ and writ­ers’ guilds, are strong pre­dic­tors of even­tual Os­car win­ners, and Chazelle’s vic­tory also sig­nals that he’ll prob­a­bly pre­vail at the Academy Awards on Feb. 26 over Barry Jenk­ins (“Moon­light”) and Ken­neth Lon­er­gan (“Manch­ester by the Sea”) for best di­rec­tor.

While “La La Land,” which col­lected 14 Os­car nom­i­na­tions, ty­ing the record held by both “All About Eve” and “Ti­tanic,” was not a nom­i­nee for the top prize, best en­sem­ble, at the Screen Ac­tors Guild Awards — that went to “Hid­den Fig­ures” — it did pre­vail at the Pro­duc­ers Guild Awards on Jan. 28. At this stage of the race, it’s hard to imag­ine “La La Land” los­ing mo­men­tum.

Ezra Edel­man also added to his grow­ing list of tro­phies this sea­son by tak­ing home the Di­rec­tors Guild’s best doc­u­men­tary fea­ture award for “O.J.: Made in Amer­ica,” mak­ing his nearly eight-hour film the one to beat come Os­car night.

And Garth Davis, who di­rected “Lion,” the tear-jerker star­ring Dev Pa­tel and based on the true story of a lost boy from In­dia who was adopted by an Aus­tralian fam­ily, won the first-time fea­ture award (Davis was also up for best di­rec­tor in the gen­eral cat­e­gory). While “Lion” scored six Os­car nom­i­na­tions, best di­rec­tor was not one of them.

As with pre­vi­ous awards events this sea­son, pre­sen­ters and win­ners re­peat­edly voiced alarm about the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, and said it was largely up to Hol­ly­wood to save the day.

“We all know the story be­ing writ­ten now is re­ally, re­ally bad,” Ale­jan­dro G. Iñár­ritu, a pre­vi­ous two-time winner, for “Bird­man” and “The Revenant” told the au­di­ence. “Ac­tu­ally it’s a bad re­make of one of the worst sto­ries of the last cen­tury. The only way we win is by telling good, com­plex and truth­ful hu­man sto­ries.”

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