By Derek Lawrence
January 05, 2020 at 10:25 PM EST
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Twenty years after winning Best Director for American Beauty, Sam Mendes is back in the Golden Globe winners circle.

On Sunday, the 1917 filmmaker once again took home the Best Director trophy.

“That is a big surprise,” said Mendes, before shouting out one of his competitors. “Can I just say, there’s not one director in this room, not one director in the world that is not in the shadow of Martin Scorsese. I just have to say that.”

Inspired by an account told to Mendes by his grandfather, 1917 follows two young British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) who are sent on a dangerous mission to deliver a message that will prevent an ambush.

“I also want to say thanks to my grandfather Alfred Mendes, who inspired this story,” the filmmaker said. “He signed up for the first World War when he was 17, and I hope he’s looking down on us, and I fervently hope it never, ever happens again.

The film’s direction is notable for being shot to look like one continuous take.

“I just wanted the audience to be part of every second of the journey with them,” Mendes recently told EW, describing the film as taking place in real-time. “I wanted them to walk every footstep and breathe every breath with them… It was an emotional decision as much as anything else, but it posed obviously a bunch of pretty tricky technical problems but that was part of the joy of it as well.”

To win the award, Mendes beat out Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), and Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).

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1917

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