LOS ANGELES – The Directors Guild of America (DGA) handed its top prize for feature-film directing to Christopher Nolan on Feb 10 for his 2023 hit biopic, Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy as the physicist who helped design the atomic bomb.
This is the latest major trophy Nolan’s film has won, after taking top honours from the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards in January.
“The idea that my peers would think that I deserve this means everything to me,” Nolan, 53, said in his acceptance speech.
Although this is Nolan’s first DGA win, he is a favourite of the guild and has received four other nominations for Memento (2001), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010) and Dunkirk (2017).
This year, he was up against film-makers Greta Gerwig (Barbie), Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things), Alexander Payne (The Holdovers) and Martin Scorsese (Killers Of The Flower Moon), whose nod – his 11th from this group – made him the guild’s second-most-nominated film-maker, after Steven Spielberg.
Nolan is widely considered the front-runner for the best director Oscar, a bid that was only strengthened by his victory here, since the DGA winner has gone on to take home the Oscar 18 of the past 20 times.
At the Academy Awards on March 10, he will once again face off against Scorsese and Lanthimos, although Oscar voters swapped Gerwig and Payne for Justine Triet (Anatomy Of A Fall) and Jonathan Glazer (The Zone Of Interest).
Director Judd Apatow, who hosted the DGA Awards, alluded to Gerwig’s headline-making Oscar snub in a joke about how things could have been worse: “I’ve never even been mentioned in an article about the people who got snubbed.”
The DGA prize for best first-time director went to Celine Song, whose romantic drama, Past Lives, was nominated for best picture at the Oscars.
This award has gone to a female film-maker three years in a row, a first for this organisation, with Song following in the fo...