At the Directors Guild Awards tonight in Los Angeles, Ari Folman took top honors in the documentary category for his animated Isreali film WALTZ WITH BASHIR. The film is nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and is up for seven awards at the Cinema Eye Honors. It previously tied with MAN ON WIRE for Best Documentary at the IDA Awards and was named Best Picture of the Year by the National Society of Film Critics.
BASHIR's victory at the DGA continues a trend of the DGA awarding films that were not nominated by the Academy for the Documentary Oscar, including recent winners GRIZZLY MAN and GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL. In fact, the DGA and Academy winner has only matched once in the awards' history - and that was 1991, the first year for the DGA Documentary prize, when Barbara Kopple won both awards for her landmark AMERICAN DREAM.
While the Guild and the Academy are very rarely in sync when it comes to nonfiction, it's entirely different story in the narrative feature category, where the Guild winner almost always goes on to win the Oscar for Best Director. Danny Boyle received the DGA Award for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, further proof of that film's nearly unstoppable march to the Kodak Theatre.