Martin Scorsese Tops DGA Awards: Best Director Oscar Next

Leonardo DiCaprio The Departed
Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's The Departed


Well on his way to his first Academy Award, last night Martin Scorsese received the Directors Guild of America's feature-film top honors for The Departed, Scorsese's way overrated I-can-smell-a-rat gangster flick that the director himself has referred to as his “B-movie.” (And despite the presence of stellar names such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson, that's really what The Departed is – though without the flair of some of the better crime B's of the '40s and '50s.)

Needless to say, Scorsese's DGA win – much like his by now inevitable Oscar win – should be seen as a career award instead of recognition for a single achievement. It was Scorsese's seventh DGA nomination, his first win for an individual film (he had previously won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003); at the Oscars, it's Scorsese's sixth nod, and it will be his first win.

“I was just trying to make a good picture,” the director told the crowd at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. “I didn't think I'd be standing here tonight. … But it is the first movie I have ever done with a plot.” (A strange remark, considering that most of Scorsese's films do have some kind of – however meandering – storyline.)

Scorsese also thanked 1950s crime directors Samuel Fuller, Robert Aldrich, and Don Siegel. (As an aside, Fuller's 1953 Pickup on South Street is a B-movie that works beautifully. Why can't Scorsese remake it with Leonardo DiCaprio in the old Richard Widmark role, Matt Damon all made up to look like Jean Peters, and Jack Nicholson in drag as bag lady Thelma Ritter? That would be one for the ages.)

Among the evening's other winners were: best documentary director Arunas Matelis, for the little-talked about Before Flying Back to the Earth (above), which depicts the plight of leukemia patients at a children's hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania, and best TV-movie director Walter Hill, for the miniseries Broken Trail, starring Robert Duvall and Thomas Haden Church as two cowboys who unexpectedly find themselves in charge of five abandoned Chinese girls.

Matelis' victory was quite a surprise, as his documentary beat two much-touted Oscar nominees, Amy Berg's Deliver Us from Evil, about a pedophilic priest, and James Longley's Iraq in Fragments, a portrait of the Iraq War hell as seen through the eyes of ordinary Iraqis.

2007 Directors Guild Awards

2007 Directors Guild of America nominations: feature film nominees on January 9, 2007; made-for-TV movies on January 10, 2007; other television nominees on January 11; and documentary and commercials nominees on January 16, 2007

2007 DGA Award winners: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on February 3, 2007

Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
Steven Spielberg, DGA winner Martin Scorsese, and Leonardo DiCaprio © DGA

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film:

BILL CONDON - Dreamgirls (Paramount Pictures)
Bill Condon's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Patricia Whitcher
First Assistant Dir.: Richard Graves
Second Assistant Dir.: Eric Sherman
Second Second Assistant Dir.: Renee Hill-Sweet

JONATHAN DAYTON & VALERIE FARIS - Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
First Assistant Dir.: Thomas Patrick Smith
Second Assistant Dir.: Gregory Smith
Second Second Assistant Dir.: Kate Greenberg

STEPHEN FREARS - The Queen (Miramax Films)
Stephen Frears' Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Sue Claverly
First Assistant Dir.: Stuart Renfrew
Second Assistant Dir.: Rickay Graysmark
Third Assistant Dir.: Lucy Egerton

Alejandro González Iñárritu's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Ann Ruark
First Assistant Dir.: Sebastián Silva

* MARTIN SCORSESE - The Departed (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Martin Scorsese's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Carol Cuddy
First Assistant Dir.: Joseph Reidy
Second Assistant Dir.: Amy Lauritsen
Second Second Assistant Dir.: John Silvestri


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary:
AMY BERG, Deliver Us from Evil, Lionsgate Films
MICHAEL GLAWOGGER, Workingman's Death, Lotus Films & Quinte Film
JAMES LONGLEY, Iraq in Fragments, Typecast Pictures / HBO Documentary Films
* ARUNAS MATELIS, Pries parskrendant i zeme / Before Flying Back to the Earth, Studio Nominum, Tag/Traum
JEAN-HENRI MEUNIER, Ici Najac, à vous la terre, Little Bear


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television:

CHARLES S. DUTTON - Sleeper Cell: American Terror “Home” (Showtime)
Mr. Dutton's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Robert Rothbard
First Assistant Dir.: Dennis M. White
Second Assistant Dir.: Andy Spilkoman
Second Second Assistant Dir.: Pete Waterman
DGA Trainee: Joshua Madera

RANDA HAINES - The Ron Clark Story (TNT)
Ms. Haines' Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Fred Styles
First Assistant Dir.: Glen Trotiner
Second Assistant Dir.: Eddie Micallef
Second Second Assistant Dir.: Chris DeAngelis

* WALTER HILL - Broken Trail (AMC)

PETER MARKLE - Flight 93 (A&E)

Mr. Olmos' Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Lisa Bruce
First Assistant Dir.: Marty Eli Schwartz
Second Assistant Dir.: Ken Wada
Second Second Assistant Dir.: Tonatiuh Esparza


Honorary Life Member Award: Carl Reiner

Robert B. Aldrich Service Award: Paris Barclay and Taylor Hackford

Lifetime Achievement Award in News Direction: George Paul

Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award (for an Associate Director or Stage Manager): Terry Benson

Asian Film Awards 2007 Nominations

The nominees for the 1st Asian Film Awards were unveiled on Jan. 29. The awards ceremony, to be held on March 20, will open the 31st Hong Kong Film Festival.

According to the Asian Film Academy's mission statement, the awards were created to “to acknowledge the finest of Asian Cinema, and bestow honor in various categories to film artists from across Asia, in the company of distinguished celebrities from around the world as guests and presenters.”

“From across Asia”?

The vast majority of the nominated films hail from East Asia. India received only one nomination, while apart from Iran's two nods, West Asia was completely ignored and so was Central Asia. (Not to mention northern Asia, though I'm not sure if a Siberian movie would officially qualify as “Asian.”)

South Korean cinema, for its part, was particularly well represented. The local blockbuster (and top Korean Film Awards winner) The Host, a comedy-horror-thriller about a mutant monster, garnered five nods, including best film and best actor (Song Kang-ho), while the psychological drama Woman on the Beach received three, including best director and best screenplay nods for Hong Sang-soo.

Among the other best film nominees are Venice Film Festival winner Still Life, a social drama directed by Jia Zhang-Ke; Garin Nugroho's Indonesian-Austrian drama with music Opera Jawa, the tale of a tragic love triangle; Yôji Yamada's Love and Honor, the story of a blind Samurai and his devoted wife; Johnnie To's crime thriller Exiled; and Zhang Yimou's highly successful period drama Curse of the Golden Flower, which also received nominations for best actress (Gong Li) and best visual effects.

Other nominees include Ziyi Zhang, vying for the best actress prize for The Banquet, and Ken Watanabe, competing in the best actor category for his performance as a man diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Memories of Tomorrow. Chang Chen, at one point the favorite to win last year's Best Actor Golden Horse for The Go Master – until Chinese authorities decided to withdraw the film from competition – is also in the running.

The 2007 Hong Kong Film Festival runs March 20–April 11.

Oscars Make-Up Symposium: Mel Gibson, Guillermo del Toro Movies

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will for the first time present the 2007 Oscar nominees in the make-up category at a special symposium at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

The Make-Up Symposium will be hosted by Make-Up Branch Governor Leonard Engelman, whose film credits include The Witches of Eastwick, Batman Forever, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The event will screen clips of each nominated film, and audience members will be able to ask questions to the nominated make-up artists (subject to availability), who will also take part in a panel discussion.

The 2007 nominees for Achievement in Make-Up are:

Apocalypto, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
Click, Kazuhiro Tsuji and Bill Corso
Pan's Labyrinth, David Marti and Montse Ribe

Free advance tickets to the Make-Up Symposium are necessary to secure admission. There is a two-ticket per person limit. Tickets will be available beginning February 1 at the Academy's ticket office. For ticket order information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit

Doors open at 1 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Academy's ticket office is located at its headquarters at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at the Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study at 1313 North Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available behind the building through the entrance on Homewood Avenue. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

The Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Oscar 2007: “Shorts!” in New York City

The New York City version of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual “Shorts!” program, featuring the year's Oscar-nominated narrative short films, will be presented on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Academy Theater.

The screenings will be hosted by none other than Robert Osborne, Hollywood Reporter columnist, Turner Classic Movies host, and official biographer of the Academy Awards.

The screening films are:

Short Film (Animated)

  • The Danish Poet, Torill Kove, director (a Danish poet travels to Norway to meet a celebrated writer)
  • Lifted, Gary Rydstrom, director (alien abductor-in-training tries to get a sleeping farmer onto its spaceship)
  • The Little Matchgirl, Roger Allers, director; Don Hahn, producer (Hans Christian Andersen's sad tale of the little girl and her matches)
  • Maestro, Geza M. Toth, director (a singing bird gets ready for its grand performance)
  • No Time for Nuts, Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier, directors (while trying to bury a nut in the Ice Age, Scrat discovers a time machine)

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Binta y la gran idea / Binta and the Great Idea, Javier Fesser, director; Luis Manso, producer (A seven-year-old African girl talks about her father, who has an idea he believes will change the world)
  • Éramos Pocos / Too Few of Us , Borja Cobeaga, director (after his wife leaves him, Joaquín enlists his son to get the woman's mother to help them keep house)
  • Helmer & Son, Soren Pilmark, director; Kim Magnusson, executive producer (a man must go to a rest home to deal with his father, who has locked himself up inside an armoire)
  • The Saviour, Peter Templeman, director; Stuart Parkyn, producer (a Mormon evangelist finds himself in love with a married woman)
  • West Bank Story, Ari Sandel, director (no tragic Palestinian-Israeli romance here; instead, this is a musical comedy set in the falafel stands of the West Bank)

Tickets for “Shorts!” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. All seating is unreserved. Tickets may be reserved by calling 1-888-778-7575. Depending on availability, tickets may be purchased the day of the screenings. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.

Cinema Audio Society Awards

Final awards season news: the feature film nominees for the 2007 Cinema Audio Society Awards are: Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, Edward Zwick's Blood Diamond, Bill Condon's Dreamgirls, Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, and Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Also of note, filmmaker and frequent Oscar telecast producer Gilbert Cates will receive the Filmmaker Award. Back in the early 1970s, Cates directed two of his most notable efforts, both family dramas starring top-name talent: I Never Sang for My Father (1970), starring Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons; and Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams (1973), starring Joanne Woodward, Martin Balsam, and Sylvia Sidney. Douglas, Hackman, Woodward, and Sidney were all shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

On the small-screen side, Ed Greene, a sound mixer for TV shows and the winner of 19 Emmys, will receive the Career Achievement Award.

Update: The 2007 Cinema Audio Society winners were announced on Feb. 17 at the Biltmore Bowl in the Millennium-Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The winning feature was Dreamgirls, courtesy of re-recording mixers Michael Minkler and Bob Beemer, and production mixer Willie D. Burton.

Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards: Winners & nominations (partial list)

Motion Pictures
Blood Diamond.
* Dreamgirls.
Flags of Our Fathers.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Television Movies & Mini-Series
* Flight 93.
Jean-Michel Cousteaus Ocean Adventures “Sharks at Risk.”
Sleeper Cell Part 7 “Fitna.”

Television Series
* Deadwood - “A Two-Headed Beast.”
Heroes - “Genesis.”
Lost - “I Do.”
The Sopranos - “Members Only.”
24 - “Day 5: 7:00 A.M. - 8:00 A.M.”

Martin Scorsese Tops DGA Awards: Best Director Oscar Next © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to Martin Scorsese Tops DGA Awards: Best Director Oscar Next

  1. Dan Schneider

    Yes, I've not seen the film, but from the reviews his declension from Gangs to Aviator to this is likely. I smell a career win coming.