Guillermo del Toro has been named the best feature-film director of 2017 for “The Shape of Water” by the Directors Guild of America, making the visionary filmmaker the prohibitive favorite to win Best Director at the Oscars.
Historically, the Directors Guild’s feature-film award is the most reliable of all Oscar predictors: Only seven times in the last 69 years has the DGA winner failed to win the directing Oscar.
“The Shape of Water” now becomes the 22nd movie to win the top feature-film award from both the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild. Of the first 21 to accomplish that feat, 16 went on to win the Oscar for best picture — but “Apollo 13,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Gravity” and “La La Land” all won the PGA and DGA but fell short at the Oscars.
The win for del Toro also marks the fourth time in the last five years that the award has gone to one of the three Mexican-born directors who are close friends and have become known as the Three Amigos: Alfonso Cuaron won for “Gravity” in 2014, while Alejandro G. Inarritu won for “Birdman” in 2015 and “The Revenant” in 2016.
Jordan Peele was named the year’s best first-time director for his acclaimed horror thriller “Get Out.”
Matthew Heineman won the award for documentary filmmaking for “City of Ghosts,” in a category that also included Oscar nominees “Icarus” and “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” and TV docs “The Vietnam War” and “Wormwood.”
The TV series awards both went to female directors: Reed Morano took the TV drama award for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” where her competition included three different episodes of “Game of Thrones,” while Beth McCarthy-Miller received the TV comedy award for “Veep.” Jean-Marc Vallée was given yet another honor for directing the miniseries “Big Little Lies.”
Glenn Weiss won the Directors Guild’s variety/talk/news/sports special award for the 89th Academy Awards, which ended with the snafu of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway receiving the wrong envelope and announcing the wrong Best Picture winner. Don Roy King won the variety/talk/news/sports series award for “Saturday Night Live,” his fourth DGA Award for “SNL.”
Niki Caro won the children’s television award for “Anne With an E,” while Brian Smith won the reality-TV award for “Master Chef.”
Judd Apatow hosted the ceremony, which took place in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Directors Guild Award winners:
Feature Film: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
First-Time Feature Film: “Get Out,” Jordan Peele
Documentary: “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman
Dramatic Series: “The Handmaid’s Tale”: “Offred,” Reed Morano
Comedy Series: “Veep”: “Chicklet,” Beth McCarthy-Miller
Movies for Television and Mini-Series: “Big Little Lies,” Jean-Marc Valee
Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regular: “Saturday Night Live,” Don Roy King
Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials: “The 89th Annual Academy Awards,” Glenn Weiss
Reality Programs: “Master Chef,” Brian Smith
Children’s Programs: “Anne With an E,” Niki Caro
Commercials: Martin de Thural: “Festival,” StubHub; “Machines,” StubHub; “Mad World,” WealthSimple
Honorary Life Member Award: Michael Apted
Frank Capra Achievement Award: Dwight Williams
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award: Jim Tanker