Malibu Seen: Excellence Behind the Camera

Director Sam Mendes on set of “1917”

The prestigious Directors Guild of America Awards were handed out on Saturday night and we may have our best indication yet of who may win come Oscar time. 

The last six DGA winners went on to a repeat performance for best director at the Academy Awards and best directors often get the best picture prize as well. 

This year the WWI epic “1917” continued its winning ways with Sam Mendes taking home the impressive looking silver plate.

Martin Scorsese’s mob drama “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino’s ode to La La Land “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” and Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” were also in the running, but couldn’t stop the growing momentum behind Mendes and “1917.”

Outstanding directorial achievement of a first-time film director went to Alma Har’el for “Honey Boy.” For dramatic series, it was a win for HBO and Nicole Kassell for “Watchman.”

In the comedy category, HBO picked up another win for Bill Hader and “Barry.”

“Chernobyl” picked up a trophy, this time for Jonan Renck.

In the variety/talk/news/sports department, Andy Fisher walked off with the silver plate. 

“American Factory” with Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were given the gong for outstanding directorial achievement in documentary.

At the DGA, every category has a winner, but keep your eyes on “1917” for the biggest prize of them all on Feb 9.




lso coming up is the Independent Spirit Awards, which feature a lot of films you may not see on the usual awards circuit. 

The crime thriller “Uncut Gems” starring Malibu’s Adam Sandler in a dramatic role is up for best picture as well as few films you may not have heard much about, like “Clemency,” “The Farewell” and “A Hidden Life.”

One of the few previous award winners is “Marriage Story” with Laura Dern picking up most of the gold at earlier shows.

“Uncut Gems” and “The Lighthouse” lead the way with five nods each. Sandler is also up for best actor. 

Best female contenders include Karen Allen for “Coldwell,” Hong Chau for “Driveways,” “Madmen’s” Elizabeth Moss for “Her Smell,” Mary Kay Place for “Diane” and the seemingly unstoppable Rene Zellweger for “Judy.”

When it came to the guys, Chris Galust for “Give Me Liberty,” Kelvin Harrison Jr. for “Luce,” Robert Pattinson for “The Lighthouse,” Sandler for “Uncut Gems” and Matthias Schoenaerts for “The Mustang” are in the running.

Jennifer Lopez snagged a best supporting female nomination for “Hustlers.” 

Zhao Shuzhen is up for accolades for her role as the family matriarch in “The Farewell.” Co-stars Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf received supporting male nods for “Honey Boy,” which recounts LaBeouf’s upbringing as a child star.

The late Robert Altman (a long time Malibu resident) has a special award and this year it goes to “Marriage Story.” The guild will be honoring director Noah Baumbach, casting directors Douglas Aibel and Francine Maisler and the cast: Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson who portray a couple in the midst of a divorce along with Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Julie Hagerty, Ray Liotta, Azhy Roberston and Merritt Weaver. 

The Altman trophy makes the cast members ineligible for individual acting awards. The Independent Spirit Awards nominations are selected by a 50-member committee and the awards are voted on by the organization’s 6,000-plus members. To be eligible, movies must be produced in the U.S. for less than $22.5 million.

The ceremony will be held in Santa Monica on Feb. 8—the day before the Academy Awards. So, get out your at-home ballots and stay tuned.