(L-R) Todd Field, Joseph Kosinski, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Neal McDonough attend the 75th Directors Guild Of America Awards Meet The Nominees Feature Film Event at DGA Theater Complex on February 18, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP
Los Angeles: “Everything Everywhere All At Once” won top honors from Hollywood’s directors Saturday, as the quirky indie sci-fi movie from two relatively unknown young filmmakers upstaged more famous rivals ahead of next month’s Oscars.
Directing double-act Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, both 35, fended off competition from the likes of Steven Spielberg to win the prize for best feature film at the Directors Guild of America’s annual gala in Beverly Hills.
“What the hell? Guys, thank you so much. This has been an incredible year for our little film that somehow keeps going,” said a visibly shocked Kwan.
The movie stars Michelle Yeoh as an immigrant laundromat owner undergoing a tax audit who becomes drawn into an inter-dimensional battle to save the multiverse from a powerful villain.
It became a huge word-of-mouth hit last year, has grossed more than $100 million worldwide, and holds the most Academy Award nominations this year with 11.
Kwan and Scheinert, collectively referred to as “Daniels,” made their start directing music videos, and were previously best known for the oddball Daniel Radcliffe comedy “Swiss Army Man.”
Scheinert thanked his co-director Kwan “for putting up with me when I asked to make our movie weirder.”
“Thank you for making our movie so much braver and more vulnerable. What an honor… this is crazy!”
The DGAs, though not broadcast on television, offer highly prestigious recognition from the industry’s top directors, and are now in their 75th year.
They are also considered a key Oscars predictor. Seventeen of the past 19 DGA winners have gone on to also win best director at the Academy Awards that year.
The other directors nominated by the DGA were Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Todd Field (“TAR”), Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and Spielberg, for his semi-autobiographical childhood memoir “The Fabelmans.”
It was Spielberg’s 13th DGA nomination — he has won three times — and nearly every nominee and winner on Saturday evening name-checked the famous director.
Spielberg himself admitted he had been “terrified” that audiences would watch his latest, deeply personal film and respond: “So what? Your childhood wasn’t all that interesting!”
He joked that he had also dreaded being told: “Please get back to making scary movies, shark movies, alien movies. Those were fun.”
But, he concluded, “I have been calling ‘Action!’ for 55 years. So why the hell not?”
Charlotte Wells won the best first-time feature award for “Aftersun,” but did not attend, with Britain’s BAFTAs due to take place in London less than 24 hours after the DGA gala.
The independent film stars Paul Mescal as a troubled, single Scottish father trying to reconnect with his young daughter on a summer holiday in Turkey.
On the television side, Bill Hader won his third DGA for directing “Barry,” the dark hitman comedy in which he also stars.
The drama prize went to “Euphoria” director Sam Levinson, for the gritty HBO series about teenagers battling with addiction, infidelity and abuse, which stars Zendaya.
The movie season-capping Academy Awards take place this year on March 12.
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