When Gravity hit theaters last October, the space adventure was a big commercial hit and was almost universally praised by critics. Even though the film won tons of acclaim, many pundits didn’t give it much of a chance come awards season, given the number of strong contenders in 2013. Well, it hasn’t gone down like that at all. So far Gravity has walked away with seven Critic’s Choice Awards, a Golden Globe for best director for Alfonso Cuarón, and an even ten Academy Award nominations in most of the major categories. Last night, Cuaron, and Gravity walked way with another nice piece of hardware, taking the top honor at the Directors Guild of America which were held in Los Angeles.
Winning this award is no small feat in an average year, but it’s extra impressive when you consider the competition Cuarón faced. The field also included names like Martin Scorsese, Paul Greengrass, Steve McQueen, and David O. Russell. Not a bad group to be included in, all things considered. You can’t say that it’s not well deserved, as good, even great as most of these movies are, watching Gravity, especially if you got to see it in IMAX and 3D, is a one of most impressive, visceral experiences you’re likely to see for years.
When future Batman, Ben Affleck presented Cuarón with the award, the Mexico-born director was gracious as ever, saying, “This is truly an honor and I am humbled by it.” He also went out of his way to give credit to all of the people who worked on Gravity, including his son and co-writer Jonas, first assistant director Josh Robertson, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and the entire special effects team. It may have been his vision, but you can’t pull off a spectacle on this scale without help, a lot of help. He said, “Directing is about the work of your collaborators.”
He added, “I barely understand how we made the film.” That line got a big laugh from the crowd.
More than 15,000 members make up the voting body of the DGA, and the award has been a good indicator of for who might win the Best Director Oscar. In 65 years only seven of the DGA winners didn’t win an Academy Award. Last year, however, there was a big discrepancy between the guild and he Oscars. Affleck, who won the award, didn’t even garner an Oscar nomination for Argo, though it won Best Picture. And only two DGA nominees were nominated for Oscars. This year, however, they’re four for five. Alexander Payne got the nod for Nebraska instead of Greengrass.