Michel Hazanavicius wins Directors Guild of America Award for ‘The Artist’

Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist“) won the Directors Guild of America Award and solidified his frontrunner status at the Oscars. The winner of the DGA award has repeated at the Oscar every year since these kudos began in 1948 with just six exceptions; the most recent of those was in 2002 when Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) won the DGA but lost the Oscar to Roman Polanski (“The Pianist”). (See full list of DGA winners here and TV awards report here)

This win also pushes “The Artist” even further ahead in the Best Picture race at the Oscars. There have been only 13 years when the DGA champ’s film did not claim the Best Picture prize at the Oscars; the most recent of these was in 2005 when Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”) won over the DGA but “Crash” took the top award at the Oscars.

“The Artist” won Best Picture from the PGA last weekend and Best Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes two weeks ago. While “Hugo” reaped a leading 11 Oscar nominations, “The Artist” was only one behind. And it contends for three prizes at Sunday’s SAG Awards while “Hugo” was snubbed. 

Last year, Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) pulled off an upset when he bested critics’ darling David Fincher (“The Social Network”) for the Directors Guild of America prize; he then went on to win the Academy Award as well.

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Fincher was back in the running this year contending for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The other nominees were Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris“),  Alexander Payne (“The Descendants“), and Martin Scorsese (“Hugo“). Of this quintet, Fincher and his film were the only ones to be snubbed by the Oscars.


Although he has long been critcally lauded, it took Scorsese till his seventh DGA bid to finally win. That was for “The Departed” in 2006; he also claimed his first Oscar for that film. Last year, he won the TV Drama award for helming the pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire.”

This year, he also contended for directing the documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.” He lost that race to James Marsh (“Project Nim”) who was snubbed by the Oscars. Indeed, only one of the five DGA nominees — “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” — is in contention at the Academy Awards. 

While Allen won this prize (and the Oscar) in 1977 for “Annie Hall,” the last of his four DGA nods came in 1989 for “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Payne was nominated in 2004 for “Sideways” while Fincher also contended in 2008 for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” 

The six exceptions to winning both DGA and the Oscar are:

1968 — DGA to Anthony Harvey for “The Lion in Winter” and Oscar to Carol Reed for “Oliver!”

1972 — DGA to Francis Ford Coppola for “The Godfather” and Oscar to Bob Fosse for “Cabaret”

1985 — DGA to Steven Spielberg for “The Color Purple” and Oscar to Sydney Pollack for “Out of Africa”

1995 — DGA to Ron Howard for “Apollo 13” and Oscar to Mel Gibson for “Braveheart”

2000 — DGA to Ang Lee for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Oscar to Steven Soderbergh for “Traffic”

2002 — DGA to Rob Marshall for “Chicago” and Oscar to Roman Polanski for “The Pianist”

The guild choice for Best Director has helmed the academy’s pick for Best Picture with the following 13 exceptions:

1948 — DGA to “A Letter to Three Wives” and Oscar to “Hamlet”

1951 — DGA to “A Place in the Sun” and Oscar to “An American in Paris”

1952 — DGA to “The Quiet Man” and Oscar  to “The Greatest Show on Earth”

1956 — DGA to “Giant” and Oscar to “Around the World in 80 Days”

1967 — DGA to “The Graduate” and Oscar to “In the Heat of the Night”

1968 — DGA to “The Lion in Winter” and Oscar to “Oliver!”

1981 — DGA to “Reds “and Oscar to “Chariots of Fire”

1985 — DGA to “The Color Purple” and Oscar to “Out of Africa”

1989 — DGA to “Born on the Fourth of July” and Oscar to “Driving Miss Daisy”

1995 — DGA to “Apollo 13” and Oscar to “Braveheart”

1998 — DGA to “Saving Private Ryan” and Oscar to “Shakespeare in Love”

2000 — DGA to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and Oscar to “Gladiator”

2005 — DGA to “Brokeback Mountain” and Oscar to “Crash”

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