Saturday night in Los Angeles, Charles Ferguson picked up the DGA Award for INSIDE JOB, winning top honors from a field that included Davis Guggenheim (WAITING FOR 'SUPERMAN'), Alex Gibney (CLIENT 9), Lixin Fan (LAST TRAIN HOME) and Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger (RESTREPO).
The presentation of the award picked up some unexpected humor/irony as presenter Helen Mirren lamented the poor financial state of documentary filmmakers just before presenting the award to Ferguson, who a decade ago sold his software company to Microsoft for more than $100 million dollars.
The DGA win is an important one for the Oscar-nominated INSIDE JOB, which was regarded as this year's Oscar favorite after its debut last May at Cannes, but which, in terms of major awards, had only scored a New York Film Critics Circle prize prior to Saturday, where it narrowly topped the surging EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (also Oscar-nommed). EXIT director Banksy was not nominated for the DGA award.
Other than the NYFCC, the few times that INSIDE JOB has gone head-to-head with EXIT, neither film came out the victor. Both were nominated for Audience Choice and Production at the Cinema Eye Honors (JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK and LAST TRAIN HOME took those awards, respectively, although EXIT did win two awards including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature) and for the Broadcast Film Critics Award (where WAITING FOR 'SUPERMAN' won). JOB was nomned for the Gotham Award, but lost out to THE OATH.