The last piece has fallen into place for Nomadland to have a big Oscar night.
Chloé Zhao, the writer/director of the small-budget indie, won the top prize at the 73rd Directors Guild of America Awards. She is the first Asian-American woman to win the award, and only the second woman ever receive the honor (joining Kathryn Bigelow who won in 2009 for The Hurt Locker).
Zhao has won every directing prize from every major awards season body this year (including the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and many individual critics groups).
Zhao is now a lock to win the Academy Award for Best Director. In the previous 72 years of the DGA, only eight times has the winner not gone on to win the Academy Award. (That includes last year, coincidentally enough, when DGA winner and 1917 director Sam Mendes lost the Oscar to Parasite helmer Bong Joon-ho.)
Further solidifying Zhao’s Director status and Nomadland‘s Best Picture likelihood: both were winners in the same categories this weekend at the BAFTA’s, the British Academy Awards. The BAFTAs include many American Academy members as well. Nomadland also won the Producers Guild of America award last month, a Best Picture equivalent.
In the other major DGA film categories, Darius Marder won the award for First-Time Feature Film Director for his stirring portrait of a deaf drummer, Sound of Metal. In the Documentary category, Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw won for The Truffle Hunters, a film that’s not even nominated for the Academy’s Documentary Feature prize.
The 73rd Annual DGA Awards were handed out on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
Directors Guild of America
2020 Film Winners and Nominees
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
WINNER: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
- Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
- Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
- David Fincher, Mank
- Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a First-Time Feature Film Director
WINNER: Darius Marder, Sound of Metal
- Radha Blank, The 40-Year-Old Version
- Fernando Frias de la Parra, I’m No Longer Here
- Regina King, One Night in Miami…
- Florian Zeller, The Father
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries
WINNER: Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, The Truffle Hunters
- Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss, Boys State
- Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, My Octopus Teacher
- Benjamin Ree, The Painter and the Thief
- David France, Welcome to Chechnya
Robert B. Aldrich Award (for extraordinary service to the Directors Guild of America and to its membership): Betty Thomas
Frank Capra Achievement Award (given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager for career achievement): Brian E. Frankish, UPM
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award (given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager for service to the industry and the DGA): Joyce Thomas, AD
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2020 / 21 season:
Screen Actors Guild Award Winners
Producers Guild of America Winners
Critics Choice Award Winners
Golden Globe Award Winners
National Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Circle
Boston Society of Film Critics