LONDON/LOS ANGELES: The directors of Hollywood have named Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Inarritu the best film director of 2015, owing to his work in The Revenant. They also chose Matthew Heineman as the best documentary film-maker for Cartel Land, at the gala ceremony held on Saturday, thereby helping focus the race for the Oscars. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) is a leading industry group representing film and television directors. Past DGA film award winners have often gone on to claim the Oscar for best director and seen their films win best picture from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
This was Inarritu’s second consecutive DGA win after taking home the prize last year for Birdman, for which he also won an Oscar. That film also took home the best picture award. So far, industry awards from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Producers Guild and now the DGA have gone to different films, with actors choosing Spotlight and producers honouring The Big Short respectively. Heading into the DGAs, Oscar watchers had narrowed this year’s race to Inarritu’s dark drama, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom McCarthy’s journalism tale Spotlight and financial farce The Big Short.
The Oscar buzz has been overshadowed since January by claims of a lack of racial diversity in its nominees as no actors of colour were recognised in key acting and directing categories for a second straight year. The controversy led to a revival of the #OscarsSoWhite hash tag on Twitter, as well as calls for a boycott by the likes of director Spike Lee and actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Following the unveiling of nominees in January, the Academy also enlisted changes to membership rules that will be imposed for greater diversity. DGA president Paris Barclay spoke of the colour controversy in his opening remarks, saying the DGA had long championed “the important fight for equal opportunity.”
In addition to film directors, the DGA also handed out television honours. Chris Addison won for best TV comedy direction for Veep, while David Nutter won the award for TV drama series for Game of Thrones.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2016.