1917 Sam Mendes

Source: Francois Duhamel / Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures

Dean-Charles Chapman, director Sam Mendes and George MacKay on the set of ‘1917’

Sam Mendes won the top prize for 1917 at the 72nd Annual Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night (25) to ensure he is the solid favourite for the Oscar next month.

The DGA is a highly reliable bellwether of Academy Awards success, having delivered the eventual winner on Oscar night on all but seven occasions since the 1940s.

Mendes recently won the best directing Golden Globe and first won the DGA award in 1999 en route to the Oscar for American Beauty.

The British filmmaker beat out South Korean auteur Bong Joon Ho for Parasite, Americans Martin Scorsese for The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, and New Zealander Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit.

No women had been nominated for the main category despite acclaim this season for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, and others.

Israeli-American filmmaker Alma Har’el earned top honours in the first-time directing category, beating Mati Diop for Atlantics, Melina Matsoukas for Queen & Slim, Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz for The Peanut Butter Falcon, and Joe Talbot for The Last Black Man In San Francisco.

Winners appear in bold below. Click here for full list of winners.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement In Theatrical Feature Film

Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Sam Mendes, 1917

Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time …In Hollywood

Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Outstanding Directorial Achievement Of A First-Time Feature Film Director

Mati Diop, Atlantics

Alma Har’el, Honey Boy

Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim

Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon

Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man In San Francisco