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

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.

Tag Cloud

crossover trailers comic book movie Rocky Comedy sopranos book Indigenous Creative Arts Emmys directors 45 BET Awards cartoon spinoff slasher Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Alien discovery series Star Trek summer TV preview romantic comedy remakes south america mob laika screenings Crackle Disney streaming service nfl ABC Anna Paquin obi wan Wes Anderson VH1 99% Prime Video HBO Max debate jurassic park Chernobyl Freeform Baby Yoda comics Avengers TCM hist crime thriller Thanksgiving NBC TV Land Best and Worst satire children's TV MCU video on demand Interview werewolf nature cops spanish language Sundance TV YouTube Red high school Paramount HBO Fox Searchlight international tv talk Box Office Watching Series IFC scary TIFF RT History vampires OneApp talk show marvel cinematic universe TBS Teen reviews video Rocketman sequel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Acorn TV Fantasy sports kong USA Universal 2021 Sci-Fi criterion PBS dramedy Classic Film parents superman ABC Family streaming movies Pet Sematary Cartoon Network Amazon Prime The Academy slashers best political drama The Arrangement DC Comics jamie lee curtis mission: impossible war romance blockbuster chucky Paramount Network Peacock 4/20 composers action-comedy Mindy Kaling Film worst movies miniseries rt labs toronto GLAAD Awards Tour dexter dogs gangster Funimation spider-verse legend leaderboard Comic Book travel Pixar Certified Fresh disaster japanese USA Network Starz cars Infographic based on movie Captain marvel Superheroes Spike Action WGN police drama Black History Month technology women Tarantino rotten movies we love Schedule Oscars basketball TNT TV renewals batman dark Epix rt labs critics edition Logo CMT Disney Channel 90s zero dark thirty Sony screen actors guild superhero harry potter witnail sag awards PaleyFest scene in color telelvision news Hulu psychological thriller genre adenture Showtime Marvel Studios Animation MTV young adult stop motion heist movie lord of the rings Year in Review South by Southwest Film Festival First Look Mudbound Black Mirror Best Actor Nat Geo broadcast free movies richard e. Grant child's play scary movies aliens halloween tv Spectrum Originals 72 Emmy Awards deadpool king arthur Horror period drama Instagram Live Britbox movies GoT IFC Films facebook Mystery biography die hard spy thriller kaiju Disney TCA Awards serial killer Summer movie Endgame Lucasfilm comic Marathons royal family comic books spanish LGBTQ 71st Emmy Awards Comedy Central Toys CNN Holidays 21st Century Fox Reality Competition 79th Golden Globes Awards aapi BBC RT21 summer TV Country 2016 elevated horror Hear Us Out Mary Poppins Returns 73rd Emmy Awards TV movies Exclusive Video WarnerMedia Ovation ViacomCBS ghosts Fargo Pop Binge Guide 24 frames toy story adventure Comics on TV Neflix dc Drama Columbia Pictures Rom-Com halloween spider-man films science fiction live action streaming sitcom binge game show VOD strong female leads AMC Plus feel good Musical cancelled television Biopics mcc 93rd Oscars Spring TV BBC One social media cooking biopic See It Skip It Character Guide Heroines BET MSNBC hispanic Pacific Islander critic resources Native Esquire Fall TV Academy Awards Super Bowl stand-up comedy Music interviews Comic-Con@Home 2021 SXSW 2022 target scene in color Grammys fast and furious zombie suspense Lifetime Christmas movies japan dragons A&E Family BBC America theme song rom-coms YA adaptation SXSW black comedy breaking bad San Diego Comic-Con Amazon Prime Video E3 LGBT canceled cancelled TV series Election DC streaming service 2019 Television Academy classics posters Disney Plus X-Men concert YouTube Premium comedies FX razzies The Witch 2015 indiana jones TCA 2017 Bravo Paramount Plus singing competition trophy 94th Oscars documentary Martial Arts Musicals supernatural Western james bond American Society of Cinematographers Syfy Fox News obituary CBS All Access godzilla The CW Sony Pictures APB popular Television Critics Association Kids & Family FOX Nickelodeon Disney+ Disney Plus festivals joker Sneak Peek Sundance FXX transformers spain prank worst animated know your critic Podcast Lifetime teaser rotten Nominations blockbusters Valentine's Day Ellie Kemper HFPA GIFs cults franchise doctor who television Song of Ice and Fire marvel comics cinemax Focus Features Turner Stephen King Adult Swim IMDb TV Shondaland hispanic heritage month SundanceTV book adaptation king kong Polls and Games Universal Pictures DGA Superheroe crime saw universal monsters Star Wars Celebration Countdown Discovery Channel boxoffice new star wars movies dreamworks Amazon Studios green book football psycho Marvel Television sequels 2017 SDCC YouTube The Walking Dead The Walt Disney Company stoner Christmas BAFTA TCA Winter 2020 Hallmark game of thrones mockumentary VICE Vudu Tomatazos docuseries Star Wars diversity new york scene in color series cats Hallmark Christmas movies Food Network Emmy Nominations dceu Extras Photos golden globe awards kids christmas movies ESPN robots target Reality Netflix Christmas movies Cosplay thriller revenge Travel Channel The Purge Video Games monster movies natural history Red Carpet Rock finale quibi Crunchyroll blaxploitation scorecard summer preview ITV Image Comics Oscar Pride Month History zombies rt archives Trophy Talk Emmys australia comiccon 2020 space politics foreign Awards PlayStation cancelled First Reviews Brie Larson archives critics A24 El Rey casting Cannes ID Dark Horse Comics documentaries Ghostbusters venice crime drama TruTV CBS TCA art house FX on Hulu nbcuniversal President OWN E! boxing 1990s emmy awards live event independent versus fresh Tokyo Olympics reboot vs. historical drama ratings ABC Signature 20th Century Fox Calendar Apple scene in color film series Warner Bros. twilight hollywood italian justice league Geeked Week Amazon Opinion a nightmare on elm street Legendary TV NBA Writers Guild of America 2018 Netflix festival Trailer unscripted olympics DC Universe 007 black Tumblr Pop TV Arrowverse New York Comic Con AMC Pirates award winner Mary poppins Elton John Hollywood Foreign Press Association streamig golden globes Best Director Broadway Lionsgate Film Festival Apple TV Plus true crime docudrama Masterpiece Marvel pirates of the caribbean Winners comic book movies what to watch anthology all-time Set visit MGM anime new zealand Tags: Comedy Best Actress Tubi NYCC Best Picture Turner Classic Movies Mary Tyler Moore medical drama TV One french Sundance Now asian-american name the review latino Apple TV+ Walt Disney Pictures National Geographic DirecTV indie HBO Go mutant Holiday wonder woman Winter TV Quiz CW Seed Trivia Paramount Pictures TLC cancelled TV shows Premiere Dates renewed TV shows Women's History Month canceled TV shows hidden camera 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Shudder