Alejandro Inarritu Wins for ‘The Revenant’ at Directors Guild Awards

“Cartel Land” and “Ex Machina” also win film awards; TV honors go to “Game of Thrones” and “Veep”

Alejandro G. Inarritu has been named the best director of 2015 for “The Revenant” by the Directors Guild of America, adding yet another wrinkle into a wild Oscar race.

Inarritu’s victory made him the first director to ever win back-to-back Directors Guild Awards, following a victory last year for “Birdman.” It also means that three different movies have won the first three major guild awards: “The Big Short” won the Producers Guild, “Spotlight” took the Screen Actors Guild’s ensemble award and now “The Revenant” has won with the directors.

With “The Revenant” not nominated for next week’s Writers Guild Awards and “The Big Short” and “Spotlight” favored to win in the WGA’s adapted and original categories, respectively, all three films will no doubt take a fighting chance into Oscar weekend.

“Big Short” and “Spotlight” are presumably fighting over the same bloc of voters, which might give the bigger, bolder and more muscular “Revenant” a small edge — but the preferential system used by the Academy to count Best Picture ballots makes vote-splitting less of a threat than conventional winner-take-all systems, so the victor may be the film that shows up in the No. 2 or 3 spot on the largest number of ballots.

Regardless of what happens with Best Picture, though, Inarritu is now the clear favorite for the Best Director Oscar, which has gone to the DGA winner all but seven times in 67 years. And “The Revenant,” which also figures to produce the Best Actor winner in Leonardo DiCaprio, is a formidable contender to be the last film standing.

The win also dealt a real blow to George Miller‘s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which once seemed to be a potential Best Picture winner but will now go into the Oscars without winning a single major guild award.

In the last 20 years, no film has won Best Picture without winning at least one major guild award — though only Clint Eastwood‘s “Million Dollar Baby” has won with just a DGA Award.

Although all of the nominees seemingly went into the DGA show with a fighting chance to win, Inarritu appeared genuinely surprised by his victory. He came close to tears during when talking about his late father during his acceptance speech, and shook his head when TheWrap spoke to him after his win.

“I’m touched,” he said quietly. “Very, very touched.”

In other feature-film awards, Matthew Heineman was named best director of a documentary for “Cartel Land” in an upset over Asif Kapadia for “Amy.”

A new award for the best first-time feature director went to Alex Garland for “Ex Machina,” who won over a field that included Laszlo Nemes for “Son of Saul.”

Television honors went to the drama series “Game of Thrones,” the comedy series “Veep” and the TV movie “Bessie.”

In the Variety/Talk/News/Sports categories, the winners were the “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special and Jimmy Fallon‘s “Tonight Show.”

The show took place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel and was hosted by Jane Lynch. Honorary awards went to commercial director Joe Pytka, stage manager Thomas McDermott and unit production manager Mary Rae Thewlis.

The DGA nominations, with winners indicated by *WINNER:

Feature Film
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant” *WINNER
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Ridley Scott, “The Martian”

First-Time Feature Film
Fernando Coimbra, “A Wolf at the Door”
Joel Edgerton, “The Gift”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina” *WINNER
Marielle Heller, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Laszlo Nemes, “Son of Saul”

Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, “Meru”
Liz Garbus, “What Happened, Miss Simone?”
Alex Gibney, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”
Matthew Heineman, “Cartel Land” *WINNER
Asif Kapadia, “Amy”

Dramatic Series
Michael Engler, “Downton Abbey,” Episode 8
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”: “The Tradition of Hospitality”
David Nutter, “Game of Thrones”: “Mother’s Mercy” *WINNER
Steven Soderbergh, “The Knick”: “Williams and Walker”
Matthew Weiner, “Mad Men”: “Person to Person”

Comedy Series
Chris Addison, “Veep”: “Election Night” *WINNER
Louis C.K.,” Louie”: “Sleepover”
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley”: “Binding Arbitration”
Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family”: “White Christmas”
Jill Soloway, “Transparent”: “Kina Hora”

Movies for Television and Mini Series
Angela Bassett, “Whitney”
Laurie Collyer, “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe”
Paul Haggis, “Show Me a Hero”
Kenny Leon and Matthew Diamond and “The Wiz Live!”
Dee Rees, “Bessie” *WINNER

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming
Paul G. Casey, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” Show #1334
David Diomedi, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Episode #325 *WINNER
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live,” Host: Tracy Morgan/Musical Guest: Demi Lovato
Ryan McFaul & Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer“: “12 Angry Men”
Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Episode #20142

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials
Sofia Coppola, “A Very Murray Christmas”
Hamish Hamilton, The 87th Annual Academy Awards
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special” *WINNER
Beth McCarthy Miller, “Adele Live in New York City”
Chris Rock, “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo”

Reality Programs
Brady Connell, “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” Episode 304
Ken Fuchs, “Shark Tank,” 702
Steve Hryniewicz, “Cutthroat Kitchen”: “Superstar Sabotage Finale: It’s Raining Ramen”
Bertram Van Munster, “The Amazing Race”: “Bring the Fun, Baby!”
Adam Vetri, “Steve Austin‘s Broken Skull Challenge”: “Gods of War” *WINNER

Children’s Programs
Paul Hoen, “Invisible Sister”
Joseph Mazzarino, “Sesame Street”: “The Cookie Thief”
Kenny Ortega, “Descendants” *WINNER
Amy Schatz, “Saving My Tomorrow,” Part 3
Sasie Sealy, “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street”: “Gortimer and the Vengeful Violinist”

Juan Cabral: Monkeys, Ikea; Freestyle, Lurpak
Miles Jay: It Can Wait, ESPN
Tom Kuntz: So It Begins, Old Spice; The Chase, Heineken; Revenge, Clash of Clans
Andreas Nilsson: Emily’s Oz, Comcast; Time Upon A Once, General Electric; Dad Song, Old Spice *WINNER
Steve Rogers: Ripple, Nike Golf; Snow Day, Nike