Alfonso Cuaron cemented his status as favourite ahead of the Oscars with a win at the Director’s Guild Of America Awards.
The Mexican filmmaker took home the biggest prize of the night for his black-and-white, Spanish-language epic Roma, adding to the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards he has already won for the movie.
The DGAs are seen as a reliable barometer ahead of the Oscars, at which Cuaron is nominated for best director and Roma is up for best picture.
Cuaron won the outstanding directorial achievement in a feature film at the DGA Awards in Los Angeles ahead of Bradley Cooper, who was nominated for A Star Is Born, Peter Farrelly for Green Book, Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman and Adam McKay for Vice.
Accepting the prize, Cuaron said: “Thank you so much DGA. I want to acknowledge the other directors nominated tonight. Peter, man, it’s been an amazing thing to reconnect.
“This journey takes you into reconnecting with people. Adam, never met you before, but this has been great. Spike, mi maestro. You keep on being my master. Where’s Bradley? Man. Thank you.”
Cuaron also thanked the stars of Roma, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. He said: “Roma simply doesn’t exist without the generosity of spirit and effortless grace of Yalitza and Marina. They somehow with the rest of my beautiful cast managed to bring to life this film from my memory.”
Cuaron added: “I want to thank the DGA not only for honouring us tonight but for their continuous efforts to honour diversity. It’s an a amazing job that the DGA is doing. They are challenging the problem by being part of the solution.”
The show opened with host Aisha Tyler taking aim at Hollywood’s “scumbags”, in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that shook the entertainment industry following Harvey Weinstein’s downfall.
Making a joke about investigative reporter Ronan Farrow bringing down powerful men in the industry, Tyler said: “It’s been a shocking year, as people we all knew were total f****** scumbags are finally exposed for being total f****** scumbags.
“Honestly, for me, it’s a real relief to know that if you work with a jerk and you bring it up to peers and HR and anyone who will listen, eventually Mia Farrow’s son will track down 20 other people who say the exact same thing and he’ll publish a piece about it and people will finally, maybe, believe you.”
Elsewhere, Cooper received a surprise snub in the first-time director category, losing out to Bo Burnham who won for coming-of-age comedy-drama Eighth Grade, which stars Elsie Fisher.
In another eyebrow-raising result, Tim Wardle won best documentary for Three Identical Strangers, which examines the case of a set of triplets born in the US before being adopted at six months old by separate families, unaware that each child had brothers.
Wardle took the prize ahead of RBG, Free Solo and Hale County This Morning, This Evening, which are all Oscar-nominated.
McKay won best director for a dramatic series for the Celebration episode of Succession.
The award for best comedy series went to Bill Hader for his directing of an episode of HBO’s Barry, titled Chapter One: Make Your Mark.
In the commercials category, Spike Jonze won for Welcome Home, the Apple Homepod advertisement.
Outstanding directorial achievement in a variety/talk/news/sports category for regularly scheduled programmes went to Don Roy King, for the Saturday Night Live episode featuring Adam Driver and Kanye West.
The specials award in the same category was handed to Louis J Horvitz for the 60th Grammy Awards.
Ben Stiller took home the prize for directorial achievement in movies for television and limited series for his work on Escape At Dannemora.
The lifetime achievement award went to Don Mischer.
The DGA Awards, now in their 71st year, celebrate the best work from directors in television and film.
The DGAs are a reliable indicator ahead of the Academy Awards and are a useful barometer for both best director and best picture.
Last year’s big winner from the DGAs, Guillermo del Toro, won the best director Oscar while his film, The Shape Of Water, won best picture.
In total, the Academy and the Guild have differed 16 times on the year’s best film, most recently 2016 when the DGA for outstanding directorial achievement in film went to La La Land while the Oscar was awarded to Moonlight.