Michel Hazanvicius never expected to win the top award, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for his feature The Artist, but he did just that at the 64th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards.
The DGA Awards dinner was held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland and hosted by Kelsey Grammar. While Hazanvicius might have been surprised by the win, audience members all but saw it coming. The silent film has been anything but silent this awards season, garnering awards at both the Producers Guild of America & the Golden Globes earlier this month. Not to mention its 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Director), making it a sure success for the Weinstein Company.
To win, Hazanavivius beat out Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alexander Payne for The Descendants and Martin Scorsese for Hugo– fierce competition, to say the least. Not to mention, he already won Best Director at the Critic’s Choice Awards and is similarly nominated for Best Director at the BAFTA and Independent Spirit Awards later this month.
His win at the DGA’s also carries extra importance when you look at the fact that this award has traditionally served as a near-perfect barometer for the Academy Award for Best Director. Only six times since the DGA Award’s inception in 1948 has the winner not gone on to receive the Academy Award as well.
On hand at the ceremony were his lead cast, actor Jean Dujardin & actress Berenice Bejo (the director’s wife). When asked about the film’s success, Hazanavicius told the crowd that he attributed it to, “A combination of several things..The way silent movies work, the audience has to put so much of themselves in it. There is nothing cynical or sarcastic about the film. It is very naive, so when you watch it, you are like a child. The movie reminds you why you first loved movies.”
I couldn’t agree more.
The evening also saw Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement going to Jon Cassar for The Kennedys (Movies for TV & Mini-Series), Patty Jenkins for The Killing (Drama Series, AMC), and Robert B. Weide for Curb Your Enthusiasm- ‘Palestinian Chicken’ (Comedy Series, HBO), in the most popular categories. For a full list of the winners please visit the DGA.
Equally as exciting as the awards were the list of presenters which included: George Clooney (The Descendants); Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad); Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men); Laura Dern (Enlightened); 2010 DGA Feature Film Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech); Stana Katic (Castle); Ben Kingsley (Hugo); Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy); Kathleen Robertson (Boss); Octavia Spencer (The Help); Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn); and Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood).