Christopher Nolan Wins DGA Award

The Directors Guild of America on Saturday night handed its top prize for feature-film directing to Christopher Nolan for his hit biopic, “Oppenheimer,” starring Cillian Murphy as the physicist who helped design the atomic bomb. This is the latest major trophy Nolan’s film has won, after taking top honors from the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards last month.

“The idea that my peers would think that I deserve this means everything to me,” the 53-year-old director said in his acceptance speech.

Though this is Nolan’s first DGA win, he is a favorite of the guild and has received four other nominations that stretch back to his 2001 breakthrough, “Memento.” This year he was up against the filmmakers Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”), Alexander Payne (“The Holdovers”) and Martin Scorsese, whose nod for “Killers of the Flower Moon” — his 11th from this group — made him the guild’s second-most-nominated filmmaker after Steven Spielberg.

Nolan is widely considered the front-runner for the best director Oscar, a bid that was only strengthened by his victory here, since the DGA winner has gone on to take home the Oscar 18 of the last 20 times. At the Academy Awards next month, he’ll once again face off against Scorsese and Lanthimos, though Oscars voters swapped Gerwig and Payne for Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”) and Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”).

Judd Apatow, who hosted the DGA Awards, alluded to Gerwig’s headline-making Oscar snub in a joke about how things could have been worse: “I’ve never even been mentioned in an article about the people who got snubbed!” he said.

The DGA prize for the best first-time director went to Celine Song, whose romantic drama, “Past Lives,” was nominated for best picture at the Oscars. This award has gone to a female filmmaker three years in a row, a first for this organization, with Song following in the footsteps of Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Lost Daughter”).

“The best way I can honor this incredible recognition for my very first film is to promise that I’ll keep directing films as best as I can for as long as I can,” Song said. “I’m going to keep going. Thank you so much!”

Here are the top winners. For the complete list, including reality shows and children’s programming, go to dga.org.

Feature

Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

Read an interview with the director.

First-Time Feature

Celine Song, “Past Lives”

Read our review.

Documentary

Mstyslav Chernov, “20 Days in Mariupol”

Read our review.

Drama Series

“The Last of Us,” Peter Hoar (for the episode “Long, Long Time”)

Comedy Series

“The Bear,” Christopher Storer (“Fishes”)

Television Movies and Limited Series

“Lessons in Chemistry,” Sarah Adina Smith (“Her and Him”)

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