1917's Sam Mendes Wins Best Director at 2020 Directors Guild Awards, Cements Place As Oscar Favorite

It was a sad night for the Bong Hive, but all smiles for Mendes, Honey Boy helmer Alma Har'el, and HBO. Check out the full list of 2020 DGA winners.

by | January 26, 2020 | Comments

Sam Mendes

(Photo by Francois Duhamel / © Universal Pictures)

It was good news for 1917 and bad news for the Bong Hive Saturday night, as the Directors Guild of America gave its top prize – best director of a Theatrical Feature Film – to the WWI movie’s helmer, Sam Mendes. Bong Joon-ho, whom many expected to take out the award for Parasite, missed out along with Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood), and Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

Mendes’s win all but assures his victory for directing on Oscar night: the winner of the top DGA prize has only missed out on the Oscar seven times since the awards began in 1949. Coupled with his Golden Globe win, Mendes is looking formidable.

Honey Boy‘s Alma Har’el took home the directing price for First Time Feature Film, and Steven Bognar and Julie Reicher won for their documentary, American Factory.

HBO dominated in the TV awards, winning for episodes of Watchmen and Barry, the limited series Chernobyl, and for the documentary Song of Parkland in the Children’s Programs category.

See the full list of Directors Guild Awards winners below, and let us know what you think of the winners in the comments. 

Theatrical Feature Film

Bong Joon-ho


Martin Scorsese

The Irishman

Sam Mendes


Taika Waititi

Jojo Rabbit

First Time Feature Film 

Mati Diop


Alma Har’el

Honey Boy

Melina Matsoukas

Queen & Slim

Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Documentary Feature Films

Steven Bognar and Julie Reichert

American Factory

Feras Fayyad

The Cave

Alex Holmes


Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska


Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

One Child Nation

Dramatic Series

Nicole Kassell, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”


Mark Mylod, “This Is Not For Tears”


David Nutter, “The Long Night”

Game of Thrones

Miguel Sapochnik, “The Long Night”

Game of Thrones

Stephen Williams, “This Extraordinary Being”


Comedy Series

Dan Attias, “It’s the Sixties, Man!”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Bill Hader, “ronny/lilly”


David Mandel, “Veep”


Daniel Palladino, “Marvelous Radio”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amy Sherman-Palladino, “It’s Comedy or Cabbage”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials

James Burrows: “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons.”Andy Fisher:“Live in Front of a Studio Audience.”

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's 'All in the Family' and 'The Jeffersons'

Linda Mendoza

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal

Glenn Weiss

Movies for Television or Limited Series

Thomas Kail, “Nowadays”

Fosse/Verdon: Miniseries

Minkie Spiro, “All I Care About Is Love”

Fosse/Verdon: Miniseries

Jessica Yu, “Glory”

Fosse/Verdon: Miniseries

Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regularly Scheduled Programming

Paul G. Casey, “1730”

Real Time With Bill Maher

Nora S. Gerard, “40th Anniversary”

Jim Hoskinson, “A. Ocasio-Cortes; Incubus

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Don Roy King, “E. Murphy; Lizzo”

Saturday Night Live: Season 45

Paul Pennolino, Christopher Werner, “SLAPP Suits”

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Season 6

Reality Programs

Hisham Abed, “Black Girl Magic”

Queer Eye

Jason Cohen, “Encore”


Jon Favreau, “The Chef Show”

The Chef Show

Ashley S. Gorman, “103”

First Responders Live

Patric McManus, “1116 Las Vegas National Finals Night 4”

American Ninja Warrior

Children’s Programs

  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? – “Part One: Submitted for Your Approval” – Dean Israelite
  • Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Special – Jack Jameson
  • Ghostwriter – “Ghost In Wonderland, Part 1” – Luke Matheny
  • Song of Parkland – Amy Schatz WINNER
  • A Series Of Unfortunate Events – “Penultimate Peril: Part 1” – Barry Sonnenfeld


  • Lighter Than Air, JP Elite Dragonfly – Fredrick Bond
  • Dream It, Squarespace – Spike Jonze WINNER
  • Underdogs, Apple – Mark Molloy
  • The Seven Worlds, Hennessy X.O. – Ridley Scott
  • Train, AT&T – Dougal Wilson

Are you as obsessed with awards as we are? Check out our Awards Leaderboard for 2019/2020.

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