The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow won the Directors Guild of America award for feature film direction last night in Los Angeles, the first woman ever to receive the accolade. After taking the stage to a rousing ovation, a clearly overwhelmed Bigelow finished her short acceptance speech by saying, “This is the most incredible moment of my life.”
Much of the room took note that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sat together at nominee Quentin Tarantino’s table all evening (so much for all those news reports about the über-couple’s imminent break-up). As per DGA tradition, all the feature nominees got a chance to speak, and Pitt used his time introducing his Inglourious Basterds director to talk about his many Tarantino-isms, like calling the perfect film take the “big sister” everyone wants to date, and the slightly imperfect take the “little sister” which, Pitt noted, is “not as pretty, but you’d still take her home — and she may prove more interesting.” Tarantino thanked Pitt for his introduction, meanwhile, by stating that “both my testicles were tingling during the whole thing.”
Indeed, it was a warm and lighthearted evening; all the nominated directors spent generous amounts of time singing the praises of their fellow nominees. Avatar director James Cameron also thanked his cast for embracing the mega-blockbuster film’s “experimental” process, explaining they were “friends for life in a way that’s never happened to me on a film before.” Jason Reitman playfully pointed out that his father, director Ivan Reitman (who also serves as a producer on his son’s film Up in the Air), had never received a DGA Award nomination, and then the younger Reitman earnestly dedicated his nomination plaque to his dad. And director Lee Daniels (Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire) had easily the best line of the night: Thanks to a luggage mishap, Daniels had to make due with a tux that was too small, so, he explained to waves of laughter, “I’m wearking a spank [sic], and I’m taking this f—er off as soon as I get off this stage.”
Other honorees included the director of feature documentary The Cove (Louie Psihoyos) and the HBO TV-movie Taking Chance (Ross Katz), as well as directors of episodes of Mad Men (Lesli Linka Glatter) and Modern Family (Jason Winer). Respective Walt Disney and Warner Bros. studio heads Robert Iger and Barry Meyer won honorary lifetime membership awards. And director Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck) tearfully accepted the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
More on the Directors Guild Awards on Dave Karger’s OscarWatch: