Some people can win for losing.
Ben Affleck claimed the Directors Guild of America Award for Argo on Saturday in Hollywood’s latest thumb-in-the-eye to the small group of filmmakers in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who failed to nominate him for an Oscar.
“I worked really, really hard to become the best director I could be, by putting in as [many] hours as I can, and banging my head against a wall, berating myself, lying to myself about whether it’s going to work,” Affleck told the crowd, never mentioning the snub. “Basically, I got to a point where I was nominated for this award. And I don’t think this makes me a real director – but I think it means I’m on my way.”
It’s the third time in its 65-year history that the DGA Award has gone to a filmmaker who was not also up for Best Director at the Academy Awrds. It happened to Ron Howard, who claimed the DGA honor in 1995 for Apollo 13, and Steven Spielberg, who won in 1986 for The Color Purple.
Of course, Spielberg’s The Color Purple ended up losing the Best Picture award to Out of Africa, and Howard’s Apollo 13 lost it to Braveheart.
That doesn’t seem likely to happen here. Though there’s no way for Affleck to win the Oscar for director, Argo appears to be channeling that love for him into unstoppable Best Picture momentum.
Affleck’s competition at the DGAs included Spielberg, who was up for Lincoln, Ang Lee for Life of Pi, and two other high-profile Oscar snubbees – Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper for Les Miserables.
The Oscar race for director includes only Spielberg and Lee from that list, along with Amour’s Michael Haneke, Silver Linings Playbook’s David O. Russell, and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Benh Zeitlin.
Affleck’s lack of an Oscar nomination roused widespread ire throughout Hollywood last month, with many rallying around the movie over near unanimous agreement that he was unfairly denied a directing nod. Since then, Argo has gone on to win both best director and drama at the Golden Globes, best production from the Producers Guild of America, and best ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild.
The DGA win by Affleck seems to be the final confirmation of what already felt like a done deal: Argo winning Best Picture at the Feb. 24 Academy Awards ceremony.
The directors awards also recognize the makers of documentaries, TV shows, and commercials. Here is the full list of nominees, which EW will update with winners as they are announced. Two high profile feature filmmakers – Looper’s Rian Johnson and Babel’s Alejandro González Iñárritu – also won awards: Johnson for directing the episode “Fifty-One” from Breaking Bad, and Inarritu for making the tearjerker commercial Best Job, about moms helping their children on the way to the Olympics.
WINNER – Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper, Les Miserables
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
WINNER – Malik Bendjelloul, Searching For Sugar Man
Kirby Dick, The Invisible War
David France, How to Survive a Plague
Lauren Greenfield, The Queen of Versailles
Alison Klayman, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Michael Cuesta, Showtime’s Homeland, “The Choice”
Jennifer Getzinger, AMC’s Mad Men, “A Little Kiss”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Showtime’s Homeland, “Q&A”
WINNER – Rian Johnson, AMC’s Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One”
Greg Mottola, HBO’s The Newsroom, “We Just Decided To”
Louis C.K., FX’s Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
Mark Cendrowski, CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable”
Bryan Cranston, ABC’s Modern Family, “Election Day”
WINNER – Lena Dunham, HBO’s Girls, “Pilot”
Beth McCarthy-Miller, NBC’s 30 Rock, “Live from Studio 8H”
Movies for Television and Mini-Series:
Greg Berlanti, USA’s Political Animals, “Pilot”
Philip Kaufman, HBO’s Hemingway & Gellhorn
Kevin Reynolds, History’s Hatfields & McCoys
WINNER – Jay Roach, HBO’s Game Change
Michael Rymer, FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum, “Dark Cousin”
Michael Dempsey, 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief
Don Roy King, NBC’s Saturday Night Live with host Mick Jagger
Don Mischer, ABC’s 84th Annual Academy Awards
Chuck O’Neil, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “Episode #17153″
WINNER – Glenn Weiss, CBS’ 66th Annual Tony Awards
Tony Croll, The CW’s America’s Next Top Model, “The Girl Who Becomes America’s Next Top Model”
Peter Ney, Syfy’s Face Off, “Scene of the Crime”
WINNER – Brian Smith, Fox’s Master Chef, “Episode #305″
J. Rupert Thompson, NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes, “Amphibious Assault”
Tim Warren, SpikeTV’s Ink Master, “Episode 103″
Albert Alarr, NBC’s Days of Our Lives, “Episode #11895″
Larry Carpenter, ABC’s General Hospital, “Bad Water”
William Ludel, ABC’s General Hospital, “Magic Milo”
Scott McKinsey, ABC’s General Hospital, “Shot Through the Heart”
WINNER – Jill Mitwell, ABC’s One Life to Live, “Between Heaven and Hell”
Stuart Gillard, Disney Channel’s Girl vs. Monster
WINNER – Paul Hoen, Disney Channel’s Let it Shine
Savage Steve Holland, Nickelodeon’s Big Time Movie
Jonathan Judge, Nickelodeon’s Camp Fred
Amy Schatz, HBO’s Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce
Lance Acord (Jogger, Nike; The Dog Strikes Back, Volkswagen 2012; Thread, Levi’s; Greatness, Nike)
Steve Ayson (Beer Chase, Carlton Draught; Let Me Go, The Cosmopolitan of Los Vegas)
Fredrik Bond (Surfer, Puma; Eternal Optimism, Budweiser)
WINNER – Alejandro G. Inarritu (Best Job, Proctor and Gamble)
Tom Kuntz (Terry Crews Muscle Minds, Old Spice; Stray Animals, DirecTV; Roadside Ditch, DirecTV; Platoon, DirecTV)