Directors give fresh Oscar momentum to The Revenant

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu directing Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu directing Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

The Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu has been named the best film director for the second year running, by the Directors’ Guild of America. His success with The Revenant comes a year after he won both the DGA Award and the Oscar for Birdman.

The DGA Award is seen as one of the most reliable of all the pre-Oscar ceremonies for predicting who will win the corresponding Academy Award, with the Directors’ Guild having picked a different winner only eight times in the sixty seven year history of the event. If the pattern continues later this month, Iñárritu will become only the third director to win the Oscar twice in a row, after John Ford and Joseph L Mankiewicz in the 1940s and early 50s.

The British director Alex Garland was named the best first-time director for his artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina – an award handed out by the DGA for the first time this year.

Cartel Land, about drugs gangs, won the best documentary feature prize, for Matthew Heineman, who said he hoped the film would “give voice to those trapped in the cycle of violence.”

Another British winner at the event was the comedian Chris Addison, best known to many for playing the special adviser Ollie Reader in Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It. He was named the best director of a TV comedy series, for Iannucci’s American political satire, Veep.

The other TV awards saw David Nutter named the best director of a TV drama series, for Game of Thrones, and Dee Rees, who directed Bessie, won the prize for the best direction of a TV movie or miniseries.