1917: Sam Mendes Wins Best Director from the Directors Guild

Director Sam Mendes won the top prize at the 72nd annual Directors Guild of America Awards for 1917, solidifying the status of his dazzling World War I drama as the film to beat at the Oscar Awards.

“I was fortunate enough to win this award two decades ago,” Mendes said in his acceptance speech, referencing his DGA Awards win for 1999’s “American Beauty.” “And I think if I’m honest with myself, I didn’t feel ultimately like I really knew what I was doing. I feel a little bit more like I do now.”

Mendes also used his speech to praise his fellow nominees — Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite,” Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit” — and laud the chance to get to know them better.

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“To hear other directors think and talk — it’s a little like being an alcoholic,” he said. “You realize that everyone else goes through the same problems. It was really inspiring.”

The DGAs are one of the most reliable bellwethers for the Academy Awards.

All but seven directors who won the feature film award at the DGAs went on to win the corresponding Oscar, including last year’s winner Alfonso Cuarón for “Roma.”

The last time the two awards diverged was when Ben Affleck won the DGAs for “Argo” but wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar.