'Birdman' filmmaker wins top prize at Directors Guild Awards

AP News
Posted: Feb 08, 2015 3:34 AM
'Birdman' filmmaker wins top prize at Directors Guild Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Birdman" has cracked another awards ceremony.

After taking top honors from the acting and producing guilds, the film about a washed-up Hollywood actor played by Michael Keaton won the top prize at the Directors Guild Awards.

"Birdman" writer-director Alejandro Inarritu was honored at Saturday's ceremony with the trophy for outstanding directional achievement for a feature film, giving Inarritu and possibly "Birdman" an edge ahead of the Academy Awards.

"If this is considered a great film, it has nothing to do with me," said Inarritu speaking about the difficulties of making quality movies as he accepted his award. "It is a miracle."

The guild dispenses awards to directors in TV and movie categories in what's customarily a final calling for the film that goes on to win the best director trophy and possibly best picture at the Oscars.

"You miss a lot of moments in the ordinary life of a man — kids, your wife and things," said Inarritu backstage. "It's a demanding job and takes you away from a lot of beautiful things. When something like this comes, it just reaffirms your connection with human beings close to you, and that's what I think this is all about."

Inarritu flew past Richard Linklater ("Boyhood"), Wes Anderson ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"), Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game") and Clint Eastwood ("American Sniper") to win the film directing trophy. They'll face off again Feb. 22 for the best director Oscar, except for Eastwood who was not nominated. Instead, "Foxcatcher" filmmaker Bennett Miller is up for that honor at the Academy Awards.

Linklater previously won the best director trophy at last month's Golden Globes. However, that ceremony's winners are selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose members don't overlap with most Oscar voters.

Several of the evening's prizes went to female directors: Jill Soloway for the TV comedy "Transparent," Lisa Cholodenko for the TV movie/miniseries "Olive Kitteridge," Laura Poitras for the documentary "Citizenfour" and Lesli Linka Glatter for the TV drama "Homeland."

"It's been a good night for the gals," said Linka Glatter backstage. "I think what you see is when women get up to bat, they do pretty well. That's really exciting. Now, we have to bring more. The women who are working have to grab the hand of the next generation."

Other winners during the ceremony hosted by "Glee" star Jane Lynch were Anthony Sacco for the reality series "The Chair," Jonathan Judge for the children's program "100 Things to Do Before High School," Glenn Weiss for the 68th annual Tony Awards, Dave Diomedi for "The Tonight Show" and Nicolai Fuglsig for a Guinness commercial.

"Hill Street Blues," ''Remington Steele" and "Moonlighting" director Robert Butler and "Cheers," ''Friends" and "Will & Grace" director James Burrows were both honored with the guild's inaugural lifetime achievement award in TV direction.

"First order of business, I need to inform the guild that this does not mean I'm retiring," said Burrows, who is set to direct his 1,000th episode of TV and is the most nominated director in the history of the DGAs.

Phillip Goldfarb received the Frank Capra achievement award given to an assistant director or unit production manager, while Julie Gelfand was honored with the Franklin J. Schaffner achievement award given to an associate director or stage manager.


AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.





Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.