Just when you think there’s nothing new under the sun for any of these Hollywood guilds to salute, the Directors Guild of America comes along and decides to make me very amused.
The DGA Awards were presented on Saturday (Jan. 31) night in Century City and most news reports are just going to accentuate that Danny Boyle won for “Slumdog Millionaire,” which was both predictable and inevitable. If you haven’t already figured out that “Slumdog Millionaire” is going to sweep the major Oscar categories in a few weeks, you’ve been living in a cave. What looked like a wide open Academy Awards field just a month ago has become a bit of a snooze, if you ask me.
But on the TV side, the DGA actually made some daring choices including one of the most dangerous and original moves of this award season — They voted against “John Adams”!
More after the bump…
To before fair, Jay Roach’s win for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Miniseries wasn’t unprecedented. Roach had previously defeated Tom Hooper of HBO’s awards behemoth “John Adams” at the Emmys in September.
“John Adams” has won pretty much everything else it’s been up for ever since. At the end of the day, it will go down as 2008’s best TV movie/miniseries, as well as the best produced, written, acted, shot, art directed, cast and edited TV movie or miniseries and Tom Hooper will just have to wonder why nobody respected the man who directed and orchestrated every second of the whole epic endeavor.
But hey, Jay Roach directed “Austin Powers.”
I’m much more excited by the other key TV awards.
In the category of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night, Dan Attias won for the “Transitions” episode of “The Wire.” Not only is Attias one of the small screen’s very finest directors, working on everything from “The Sopranos” to “Alias” to “Six Feet Under” to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” but it’s just tremendous to see “The Wire” win something other than a Peabody and a Television Critics Association Heritage Award.
“The Wire” was able to briefly buck the awards trend that has seen nearly everything go to “Mad Men” for over a year. I love “Mad Men” and Matt Weiner’s work on the “Meditations in a Emergency” episode was particularly outstanding, but “The Wire” was overdue.
Also a deserving winner was Paul Feig, who took Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series for the cringe-worthy “Dinner Party” episode of “The Office.” Feig, who created “Freaks and Geeks,” has gone on to direct on “Arrested Development,” “30 Rock,” “Mad Men” and “Weeds,” in addition to multiple episodes of “The Office.” Kudos.
Just as the win for “The Wire” interrupted the flow of awards for “Mad Men,” “The Office” was able to temporarily stem the “30 Rock” tide. “30 Rock” had two nominations in this category — for Don Scardino and Beth McCarthy-Miller — and I predict it may win another award or two in the future.
Other DGA TV Winners
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety: Brent “Bucky” Gunts for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs: Tony Croll for “America’s Next Top Model”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials: Larry Carpenter for “One Life to Live”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs: Amy Schatz for “Classical Baby”