Alfonso Cuaron (‘Gravity’) wins Directors Guild Award!

Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity“) won the top prize at the 66th annual edition of the Directors Guild of America Awards on Saturday night. (See the complete list of winners here.)

This first-time nominee was the frontrunner in a race that saw him defeat two other rookie contenders — Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips“) and Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave“) — as well as second-time nominee David O. Russell (“American Hustle“) and 2006 champ Martin Scorsese — who reaped his eighth film nomination for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

All but Greengrass also contend for Best Director at the Oscars; he was bumped out there by Alexander Payne (“Nebraska“). 

In the 65-year history of the DGA awards, its winner has gone on to take home the Oscar on 58 occasions. Not surprisingly then, Cuaron is the overwhelming favorite at the Oscars too. The seven exceptions have been:

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”

2012 — DGA to Ben Affleck (“Argo”) and Oscar to Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”)

Elsewhere, Jehane Noujaim won the Documentary Feature award for “The Square,” which is also nominated at the Oscars. She edged out two other Oscar contenders — Zachary Heinzerling (“Cutie and the Boxer“) and Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing“) — as well as Lucy Walker (“The Crash Reel“) and Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell“), whose films made Oscar’s shortlist but missed out on nominations.

On the TV side, “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” were both double nominees, but especially noteworthy was that “Breaking” star Bryan Cranston earned bids for both programs. He directed the episode “Blood Money” for the final season of his AMC drama and the December episode “The Old Man & the Tree” for the ABC sitcom. This was his second nomination for “Modern Family”; he was cited last year for “Election Day.”

Cranston didn’t win either of his categories, but the Drama Series prize went to his colleague, “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan, for the series finale “Felina.”

Rounding out the dramatic competition were David Fincher (the pilot for “House of Cards“), Lesli Linka Glatter (“The Star” for “Homeland“), and David Nutter (“The Rains of Castamere” for “Game of Thrones“).

In the comedy race, Beth McCarthy-Miller won for the “30 Rock” series finale, “Hogcock!/Last Lunch,” edging out Cranston and his fellow “Modern Family” director Gail Mancuso (“My Hero”), as well as a pair of “Big Bang Theory” episodes: “The Hofstadter Insufficiency” (directed by Mark Cendrowski) and “The Love Spell Potential” (directed by Anthony Rich).

McCarthy-Miller earned an additional nomination in the Movie/Miniseries field for NBC’s live presentation of “The Sound of Music,” alongside theatrical director Rob Ashford, but they were defeated by Steven Soderbergh, who continued the awards show sweep for “Behind the Candelabra,” which was previously honored at the Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and PGA Awards. Though he won an Oscar in 2000 for “Traffic,” this is Soderbergh’s first career DGA Award.

The Movie/Miniseries race was rounded out by Nelson McCormick (“Killing Kennedy“), Stephen Frears (“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight“), and David Mamet (“Phil Spector“).

While the DGA Award for feature films is a strong predictor of the Oscars, the same correlation cannot be found between TV winners and the Emmys. Only one DGA-winner for drama series in the last six years has also won the directing Emmy (Martin Scorsese for the “Boardwalk Empire” pilot), and only two in six years have matched on the comedy side (Barry Sonnenfeld for “Pushing Daisies’s” “Pie-lette” and Michael Spiller for “Modern Family’s” “Halloween”).

Who do you think will win Best Director at the Oscars? Make your predictions below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

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