The Cartel Land director takes honor over Amy's Asif Kapadia
Just when it appeared the best documentary Oscar race was a foregone conclusion, the Directors Guild Awards has thrown that into question.
In a big upset, the DGA gave its highest honor for documentary direction to Matthew Heineman for his work on the Mexican drug war film Cartel Land. Heineman triumphed over a field that included Asif Kapadia, the director of Amy who has won the lion's share of pre-Oscar critics awards.
The other contenders for the DGA Award were Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, co-directors of Meru; Liz Garbus, director of What Happened, Miss Simone?, and Alex Gibney, director of the controversial anti-Scientology film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
Heineman and Kapadia next go head to head at the BAFTA Awards in London next Sunday (Feb. 14). Given that Kapadia is British, as was the subject of his film, London constitutes home field advantage.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.