Martin Scorsese won the coveted Directors Guild Feature Film Award at the Saturday night ceremony for his critically acclaimed, and Oscar-nominated, mob drama “The Departed.” The DGA award has gone to the Oscar recipient for Best Director in 52 out of the past 58 years, making it a strong predictor for a Scorsese victory at the Academy Awards later this month.
The last time that the DGA voters and Academy Award voters disagreed about the Best Director of the year was in 2003, when the Directors Guild honored Rob Marshall for “Chicago,” but the Academy Award went to Roman Polaski for “The Pianist.”
Scorsese’s competition at the Academy Awards on February 25th includes two directors who didn’t make the short list for the Directors Guild Award: Paul Greengrass (United 93), and Clint Eastwood (Letters From Iwo Jima) got the nomination nod from Oscar, but were passed over by Directors Guild voters.
Martin Scorsese had previously been nominated for DGA awards for six films, starting with his groundbreaking, gritty urban drama “Taxi Driver” in 1976. Most recently, Scorsese was nominated for the DGA in 2004 for his Howard Hughes bio-pic “The Aviator,” but lost the prize to Clint Eastwood, who took home both DGA and Oscar honors that year for “Million Dollar Baby.”
Scorsese has been nominated for the best directing Academy Award five times, but has never won. Another loss for the director at this year’s Academy Awards would give him the all-time record for the most Oscar nominations without winning.
Since 1981, Scorses has received best directing nomination nods from Oscar voters for “The Aviator,” “Gangs Of New York,” “Goodfellas,” “The Last Temptation Of Christ,” and “Raging Bull.” He’s also been nominated twice for adapted screenplay, (for “The Age Of Innocence” and “Goodfellas”), but has yet to take home an Oscar statuette.
On Saturday, Scorsese accepted his award from actor Leonardo DiCaprio to a standing ovation from his peers.
In the acceptance speech for the award, Scorsese expressed gratitude, and his surprise at the substantial commercial success of “The Departed,” which earned $265 million at the box office. He said that when he began work on the mob drama, he considered it a “genre film” with potentially limited appeal. The plot of “The Departed” centers on police infiltration of organized crime.
In addition to Scorsese’s nomination for Achievement in Directing, “The Departed” will be contending for Academy Awards in the categories of Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Best Supporting Actor (Mark Whalberg), and Best Picture.