The Oscars won’t be held for another two weeks, but it looks increasingly likely that 1917 has won the war for best picture.
The World War I drama picked up yet another major prize Saturday night in Los Angeles when the Directors Guild of America gave Sam Mendes its top prize for direction of a feature film. Shot and stitched together to appear as if it were filmed in just two long takes, the technically audacious 1917 has come on strong this month, also claiming top honours from the Producers Guild of America as well as the drama and director trophies at the Golden Globes.
Mendes faced strong competition for the DGA Award, edging out Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) and Bong Joon Ho (Parasite).
Do any of those films still stand a chance against 1917 at the Academy Awards? Yes, though it’s a slim one. Only twice over the last decade has a film won the best-picture Oscar without first taking either the DGA or PGA prizes: In 2015, when the Oscars favored Spotlight over the DGA winner The Revenant and PGA winner The Big Short, and in 2016, when La La Land won both major guild prizes but still fell to Moonlight at the Oscars.