11 Feb 2024, 15:19
Update : 11 Feb 2024, 16:50

Christopher Nolan wins top directors award for 'Oppenheimer'

LOS ANGELES, Feb 11, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - "Oppenheimer" was named the best film 
of the year by Hollywood's directors on Saturday, boosting expectations that 
Christopher Nolan's long wait for success at the Oscars could soon be over.

The British director -- who is renowned for making commercially successful, 
complex blockbusters, but has not always received love from awards voters -- 
won the top prize at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards in Los 

"The idea that my peers would think I deserve this means everything to me," 
said Nolan, of his film about the invention of the atomic bomb.

Nolan had been nominated four times previously for the top accolade from the 
DGA, but had failed to win for "Memento," "The Dark Knight," "Inception" or 

He will now be hoping he can break a similar losing streak next month at the 
Oscars, where he has lost all five of his previous nods.

Nolan lavished praise on his filmmaking team for bringing his hugely 
ambitious visions -- including a jaw-dropping replica of the first atomic 
bomb test -- to life over the course of his career. 

"People say 'Christopher Nolan destroyed a real plane' and 'Christopher Nolan 
blew up a building,' or whatever," he said.

"Sorry, chaps! It's all down to you and your teams. And you were never more 
on your game than making 'Oppenheimer.'"

Eighteen of the past 20 DGA winners have gone on to also win the Oscar for 
best director that same year. This year's Academy Awards take place on March 

The other directors nominated by the DGA for its top prize this year were 
Martin Scorsese ("Killers of the Flower Moon"), Greta Gerwig ("Barbie"), 
Yorgos Lanthimos ("Poor Things") and Alexander Payne ("The Holdovers").

Nolan will go head-to-head with Scorsese and Lanthimos again at the Oscars, 
but notably not Gerwig, whose apparent snubbing by the Academy as director of 
blockbuster feminist satire "Barbie" caused outrage.

Gerwig did not address the Oscars controversy Saturday, saying only that 
recognition "in the company of my heroes" at the DGA gala meant "more to me 
than I can ever say."

Comment on that was left to Jonah Hill, who walked on stage and earnestly 
began: "Before we begin, it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge the 
recent tragedies.

"Of course, I'm referring to the fact that 'Barbie' only got eight Academy 
Award nominations."

The DGA prize for best movie from a first-time filmmaker went to another 
Oscar best picture nominee -- Celine Song's "Past Lives." 

- 'Power' -

Best documentary went to "20 Days in Mariupol," which portrayed in harrowing 
detail the arrival of war to a Ukrainian city that became one of the Russian 
invasion's bloodiest battle sites -- all captured by video journalists under 

"Today, my hometown was bombed and seven people got killed, three of who are 
children. So it is a sad day," said director Mstyslav Chernov.

"At the same time, I recognize the power of cinema... when those people run 
from the bombs that are falling on them, they sit in the basements, to cope 
with their fear, they watch films.

"Cinema not just leaves these stories in history for next generations... it 
also helps us all to cope with a sometimes unbearable world."

The DGA Awards also honor television. "The Last of Us" won the prize for best 
drama series episode, and "The Bear" won in comedy.

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