The duo triumphed for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The guild’s winner has won the best director Academy Award 17 of the last 20 times.
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By Kyle Buchanan
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The Directors Guild of America gave its top prize for feature-film directing on Saturday night to Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan for their sci-fi hit, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” starring Michelle Yeoh as the unlikely savior of an embattled multiverse. It is only the third time in DGA history that a duo has won the best-director prize, after Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (“West Side Story” from 1961) and Joel and Ethan Coen (the 2007 “No Country for Old Men”).
“What the hell?” a gobsmacked Kwan said while accepting their prize at the ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
Scheinert, who said months ago that he had never expected their unusual film to become a major awards contender, was similarly stunned. “This is crazy!” he said.
“Everything Everywhere” is the second film co-directed by Scheinert and Kwan, who began their career in music videos before making the leap to the big screen with their 2016 film “Swiss Army Man,” starring Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse.
Their point of view is far quirkier than what the Directors Guild tends to go for, but earlier in the night, Kwan said he had been taught to think that being a director was more like being a party host than a general, and thanked his crew “for bringing their best selves to our ridiculous, absurd, beautiful, personal party.”
Scheinert and Kwan triumphed over stiff competition, including Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”), who is the most honored filmmaker in DGA history, with 13 nominations and three wins. The other nominees were Todd Field (“Tár”), Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”).
Next month’s best-director race at the Oscars will present another competitive matchup, with the same men nominated except for Kosinski, who was replaced by “Triangle of Sadness” helmer Ruben Ostlund. Still, Scheinert and Kwan can now be presumed to have the edge in that race, since the DGA winner has won the best director Oscar 17 of the last 20 times.
Though no women were nominated in the feature-directing race, the DGA award for documentary filmmaking went to Sara Dosa for “Fire of Love,” about volcano-obsessed scientists. And the DGA prize for the best first-time filmmaker went to Charlotte Wells for the father-daughter drama “Aftersun,” which received an Oscar nomination for lead actor Paul Mescal. Since “The Lost Daughter” director Maggie Gyllenhaal won the same DGA trophy last season, this is the first time the first-timers’ award has gone to female filmmakers in back-to-back years.
Here are the top winners. For the complete list, go to dga.org:
Feature: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
First-Time Feature: Charlotte Wells, “Aftersun”
Documentary: Sara Dosa, “Fire of Love”
Television Movies and Limited Series: Helen Shaver, “Station Eleven” (“Who’s There”)
Dramatic Series: Sam Levinson, “Euphoria” (“Stand Still Like the Hummingbird”)
Comedy Series: Bill Hader, “Barry” (“710N”)
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