Guillermo del Toro, Jordan Peele win top film honors at Directors Guild of America awards

Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

In an opening monologue that sharply skewered those sexual misconduct scandals that have roiled Hollywood in recent months, host Judd Apatow highlighted the intractable gender disparities behind the camera.

"Did you know that only 5 percent of movies were directed by women in the last 10 years?" Apatow said. "Isn't that the worst, most embarrassing statistic? And what happens when women direct movies? You get 'Lady Bird.' You get 'Mudbound.' You get 'Wonder Woman.' When you give a guy a movie, you get 'The Emoji Movie.'"

Amy Schumer, one of the evening's presenters and a nominee in the variety, talk, news and sports category, emphatically echoed that sentiment. "We need to promote women to the very top positions of power -- and we need to do it yesterday," she said flatly.

On the television side, female directors made a strong showing, winning the top prizes in both the comedy and drama categories. Beth McCarthy-Miller won the comedy directing prize for the HBO series "Veep," while Reed Morano won for Hulu drama series "The Handmaid's Tale," thanking the series' producers and Hulu for being "the rare people who were seeking the opportunity to work with women instead of fearing it." New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro also picked up a prize in the children's program category for Netflix's "Anne with an E."

Jean-Marc Vallee won in the TV movie and miniseries category for the HBO series "Big Little Lies," which has picked up a number of prizes this awards season, including four Golden Globes.

Additional winners included Matthew Heineman in the documentary category for Amazon's "City of Ghosts," Brian Smith in the reality TV category for "MasterChef" episode "Vegas Deluxe & Oyster Shucks," Don Roy King in the variety series category for a "Saturday Night Live" installment hosted by Jimmy Fallon, and Epoch Films' Martin de Thurah in the commercials category.


In one of the night's more memorable moments, Glenn Weiss earned an award for directing last year's Oscars ceremony and recounted the behind-the-scenes, split-second deliberations over how to handle the now-infamous best-picture snafu that played out live in front of a stunned audience of millions.

"If your stage manager has to go out 1/8on stage3/8 because things are so wrong, your instincts are to go out and go wide and cover up," Weiss said. "I looked at it 180-degrees. I thought, 'I don't want the headline the next day to say that something bad happened and they tried to cover it up.' So in my mind, we needed to be transparent and we needed to show what was going on out there, and I was obsessive about getting a shot of that 1/8best picture3/8 card."

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