Alfonso Cuaron Wins Directors Guild Award for ‘Roma’

“Eighth Grade” director Bo Burnham scores upset victory over Bradley Cooper in first-time director category; top TV awards go to Bill Hader for “Barry” and Adam McKay for “Succession”

Last Updated: February 3, 2019 @ 7:22 AM

Alfonso Cuarón has been named the best director of 2018 for “Roma” at the 71st Annual Directors Guild Awards, which were handed out on Saturday night in Hollywood.

The win reinforces Cuarón’s position as a strong favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Director, and marks the fifth time in the last six years that one of a close-knit group of three Mexican-born directors has won the DGA Award. Cuarón also won for “Gravity,” while his close friends Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro have also won in that stretch, Iñárritu for “Birdman” and “The Revenant” and del Toro for “The Shape of Water.”

The win for Cuarón and “Roma” is the most significant guild award ever won by Netflix, which backed the director’s black-and-white, Spanish language memory piece. It is the second foreign-language film to win the DGA feature-film award, after Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” from 2000.

The Directors Guild Award is one of the most reliable Oscar predictors, with the DGA winner going on to win the Academy Award for Best Director for the last five years in a row, 14 times in the last 15 years and 61 times in 70 years.

In addition, the film whose director wins the DGA historically has a greater than 75 percent chance of winning the Best Picture Oscar, but that figure has been slipping lately.  The two awards have coincided only twice in the last five years, with “The Shape of Water” last year and  “Birdman” in 2014. The other three years, Cuarón won the DGA and the Best Director awards for “Gravity,” Iñárritu for “The Revenant” and Damien Chazelle for “La La Land,” while the Best Picture Oscars went to “12 Years a Slave,” “Spotlight” and “Moonlight,” respectively.

In a surprising upset, Bo Burnham won the best first-time director award for “Eighth Grade” over Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born.” Cooper was the only one of the five nominees who was also nominated for best director by the DGA, but he and his film have consistently failed to win any significant awards after being tabbed as an early frontrunner in some circles.

“Three Identical Strangers” director Tim Wardle won the documentary prize, which had been expected to go to “RBG,” “Free Solo” or “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Adam McKay, who was nominated twice, once for directing the feature film “Vice” and once for an episode of the series “Succession,” won in the latter category over episodes of the better-known shows “Ozark,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Americans” and “Homeland.” Bill Hader won the award for comedy directing for his HBO series “Barry,” while Ben Stiller won in the TV movie or miniseries category for “Escape at Dannemora.”

In the Variety/Talk/News/Sports categories, the winners were Don Roy King for “Saturday Night Live” and Louis J. Horvitz for the Grammy Awards. Russell Norman won the reality-TV award for “The Final Table.”

Spike Jonze won the award for commercial directing.

In honorary DGA Awards, Don Mischer received the Lifetime Achievement in Television award, Kathleen McGill the Frank Capra Achievement Award, Mimi Deaton the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award and FX Networks the Diversity Award.

The DGA is the third of the four major Hollywood guilds to announce its winners. The Producers Guild of America chose “Green Book” as the best-produced film of 2018, while the Screen Actors Guild gave its ensemble-acting prize to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

With “Roma” winning the Directors Guild, this marks the fifth time in the last 20 years that three different films have won those three major guild awards. In the other instances, the SAG ensemble winner went on to win the Oscar once, with “Spotlight” in 2016; the Producers Guild winner won the Oscar once, with “Gladiator” in 2001; and the Directors Guild winner took the Oscar twice, with “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005 and “A Beautiful Mind” in 2002.

The final major guild, the Writers Guild, will announce its awards on Feb. 17, in the middle of Oscar voting in the closest and least predictable race in recent memory.

Here is the complete list of Directors Guild Award nominees. Winners are indicated by *WINNER.

Feature Film:
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma” *WINNER
Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

First-Time Feature Film Director:
Bo Burnham, “Eighth Grade” *WINNER
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Carlos Lopez Estrada, “Blindspotting”
Matthew Heineman, “A Private War”
Boots Riley, “Sorry to Bother You”

Documentary Feature:
Morgan Neville, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
RaMell Ross, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, “Free Solo”
Tim Wardle, “Three Identical Strangers” *WINNER
Betsy West and Julie Cohen, “RBG”

Drama Series:
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”: “Reparations”
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland”: “Paean to the People”
Chris Long, “The Americans”: “START”
Adam McKay, “Succession”: “Celebration” *WINNER
Daina Reed, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: “Holly”

Comedy Series:
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”: “FUBU”
Bill Hader, “Barry”: “Chapter One: Make Your Mark” *WINNER
Hiro Murai, “Atlanta”: “Teddy Perkins”
Daniel Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: “We’re Going to the Catskills!”
Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: “All Alone”

Movies for Television or Limited Series:
Cary Joji Fukanaga, “Maniac”
David Leveaux and Alex Rudzinski, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”
Barry Levinson, “Paterno”
Ben Stiller, “Escape at Dannemora” *WINNER
Jean-Marc Vallee, “Sharp Objects”

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming:
Paul G. Casey, “Real Time With Bill Maher”: “#1633”
Sacha Baron Cohen, Nathan Fielder, Daniel Gray Longino and Dan Mazer, “Who Is America?”: “Episode 102”
Jim Hoskinson, “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”: “#480”
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”: “Host Adam Driver/Musical Guest Kanye West” *WINNER
Paul Pennolino, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”: “Italian Election”

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials:
Louis J. Horvitz, “The 60th Annual Grammy Awards” *WINNER
Tim Mancinelli and Glenn Clements, “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2018”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, “Bill Maher: Live From Oklahoma”
Marcus Raboy, “Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life”
Glenn Weiss, “The 72nd Annual Tony Awards”

Reality Programs:
Neil P. DeGroot, “Better Late Than Never”: “How Do You Say Roots in German?”
Eytan Keller, “Iron Chef Gauntlet”: “Episode 201”
Patrick McManus, “American Ninja Warrior”: “Miami City Qualifiers”
Russell Norman, “The Final Table”: “Japan” *WINNER
Bertram van Munster, “The Amazing Race”: “It’s Just a Million Dollars, No Pressure”

Children’s Programs:
Allan Arkush, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: “The Hostile Hospital: Part 1”
Jack Jameson, “When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special” *WINNER
Greg Mottola, “The Dangerous Book for Boys”: “How to Walk on the Moon”
Barry Sonnenfeld, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: “The Vile Village: Part 1”
Bo Welch, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”: “The Ersatz Elevator: Part 1”

Commercials:
Steve Ayson: Dollar Shave Club’s “Getting Ready” and Speight’s “The Dance”
Fredrik Bond: Virgin TV’s “Harmony,” BT Sports’ “Take Them All On” and Confused.com’s “The Big Win”
Martin de Thurah: Audi’s “Final Breath,” Chase Bank’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” and Macy’s “Space Station”
Spike Jonze: Apple’s “Welcome Home” *WINNER
David Shane: Babbel’s “Alien” and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund’s “Mothers & Daughters”

Lifetime Achievement in Television: Don Mischer
Frank Capra Achievement Award: Kathleen McGill
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award: Mimi Deaton
Diversity Award: FX Networks