‘Euphoria’ Surprises, ‘Better Call Saul’ Slipped Out of 2023 DGA Awards TV

DGA voters weren’t interested in chimes — on TV, anyway — as winners like “Station Eleven” and “Barry” were just too good to deny.

With 17 of the last 20 DGA winners winning the Best Director Oscar, the Directors Guild of America plays a key role in who wins the Oscar. Momentum is key in the movie’s grueling winter awards season, and now we’ll see if Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have enough power to make it 18th out of the final 21.

There’s no waiting on TV — not this year. While the DGA Awards can certainly play a role in the Emmy race — having cemented future favorites like “Succession,” “Watchmen” and “The Queen’s Gambit” — the 2023 winners are already on their way to Emmy glory are likely. Nominations could still prove valuable for newcomers like “Wednesday” and “The Bear” (not to mention “Better Call Saul’s” last chance to win its first Emmy), but Saturday night’s ceremony is hardly or does not affect the next one at all.

Instead, refreshingly enough, there were surprise twists, satisfying sure things, and a last-minute head-scratcher.

Let’s start at the end: To virtually everyone’s surprise, Sam Levinson and “Euphoria” won the DGA’s Best Drama Series, sweeping HBO in three categories and sending a number of awards fans scrambling for answers. On the one hand, Levinson faced stiff competition. “Severance” received two nominations — Ben Stiller, who won three years earlier for “Escape at Dannemora,” and first-time nominee Aoife McArdle — while “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” were up for final season. , since never before. won before. The distribution of votes may also have played a role, although it is not uncommon for shows with multiple candidates to still triumph. (“Watchmen,” “Home,” and “Succession” have all done so in the past 10 years.)

Further confusing the matter is that Levinson’s win is in Season 2 of the HBO drama — a season that has been disputed, among other things fan backlash against the writer-director’s scripts, his alleged treatment of the characters and the report referring to “excruciatingly long working days”. Perhaps this victory shows a guild rallying around its own? Or, more likely, they’re simply reacting to the best episode of a very flashy, very successful season.

In the comedy category, things were much more settled as Bill Hader earned his third DGA Award for “Barry” in as many seasons. While most pundits expected Mike White to emerge victorious in the more recent “White Lotus” Season 2, Hader’s episode — “710N” — is a shocking entry, even by his escalating standards. With an extended chase sequence (in car, motorcycle and on foot), the instant classic has been rightly hailed since its release, just as the Guild has gotten behind the director and the show since its first rating. Hader’s undefeated streak is well deserved.

Early in the evening, the Limited Series competition provided a pleasant surprise. With four front-runners, the odds were in favor of new blood taking the stage, and the overwhelming majority of Gold Derby experts (13 of 18) predicted Eric Appelt (“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”) to be the one victory lap. Even those who bet on the actual winner, “Station Eleven,” didn’t guess the right candidate, as three prognosticators finally heard the only contestant nominated in the past, Jeremy Podeswa, read aloud.

Instead, Helen Shaver won in episode 8, “Who’s There?” — a welcome choice, which is also completely logical in retrospect. On the one hand, “Station Eleven” is great, and its two episodes in the limited series are outstanding. On the other hand, Shaver has been in charge of TV for 25 years, bringing his talents to such memorable shows as “The OC,” “Castle,” “The Bridge,” “Orphan Black,” “Westworld,” “Lovecraft Country” and “The Maid.” This may be his first nomination at the DGAs, but he’s been nominated – and won – multiple times at the Directors Guild of Canada Awards Razor is exactly the kind of hard-working talent the DGAs love to honor, and his award certainly brought a lot of smiles . in the room and throughout the industry.

(For those wondering why pilot director Hiro Murai wasn’t considered, it’s only because he wasn’t eligible. “Station Eleven” has released seven of its 10 episodes in 2021, meaning only three qualified for this year’s ceremony. two nominations speaks volumes for the respect he has earned from DGA voters — as did the fact that Murai was nominated last year when he lost to Barry Jenkins for “The Underground Railroad. And there’s no shame in that.)

The TV winner was Liz Patrick for Variety Program, which gave “Saturday Night Live” its seventh straight win in the category; Glenn Weiss in Variety Special, his ninth DGA Award overall and eighth Tony Awards for directing; Anne Renton for Children’s Program, which made sure Apple TV+ didn’t go home empty-handed; and Ben Simms in the Reality Program, where “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” won its first DGA award after receiving its first nomination last year.

On Monday, Hollywood will likely continue to talk about “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and what the DGA win means for its Oscar chances. But these accomplished artists need not worry about what comes next. They have already taken home their top prize.

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