La La Land’s Damien Chazelle wins directors guild award
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.”