Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 scored its second major guild victory of the awards season Saturday at the 72nd annual DGA Awards, cementing his spot as an Oscar Best Picture frontrunner in Director and Best Picture by winning the marquee feature film award.
The victory in a category that included four of this year’s five Oscar Directing nominees — Bong Joon-Ho for Neon’s Parasite, Quentin Tarantino for Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Martin Scorsese for Netflix’s The Irishman — came after the Universal film produced and financed by Amblin Partners and New Republic scored the top prize at the PGA Awards a week ago.
‘I want to tell a quick story I’ve never told before,” Mendes, who won this award in 1999 for American Beauty, said onstage at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. “My grandfather inspired this film, and he made me when I was 12 sign a contract promising I would write a novel by the age of 18. Obviously I’m not a freak, so I didn’t do that, but I did do this. So I want to say thank you for him for that.”
The DGA Awards are an important bellwether in the Oscar race — only seven times since the marquee Theatrical Feature Film award’s inception in 1949 has the winner differed from the eventual Oscar Directing winner. Last year was no exception: Alfonso Cuarón won for Roma and repeated the feat on Oscar night (though it lost Best Picture to Green Book). Cuarón was back tonight and presented the final award.