Bo Burnham beat out industry darling Bradley Cooper at the Directors Guild of America Awards. Burnham won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director on Saturday night, defying most people’s expectations.
Many saw Cooper as a shoo-in for the prize, but Burnham has quietly racked up a series of trophies for his accomplishments with Eighth Grade. Before the DGAs, he won eight awards for his directing achievements including Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards.
Burnham’s debut film, Eighth Grade, competed against Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, Carlos Lopez Estrada’s Blindspotting, Matthew Heineman’s A Private War, and Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You. A Star is Born has been nominated for 186 awards and has already captured 51. It’s worth noting that both Burnham and Cooper did not receive Best Director Oscar nods by The Academy.
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade gain steam despite zero Oscar nominations
Eighth Grade follows the awkward life of a 13-year-old girl, played by Elsie Fisher, who creates video “vlogs” with life advice. Burnham cast Fisher after he discovered her on YouTube. Burnham rose to fame himself as a 16-year-old YouTube personality. At 18, he was the youngest comic to have his own Comedy Central stand-up special.
Since swapping video uploads for fully produced comedy specials, the Massachusetts native finds himself switching roles. In addition to directing duties, Burnham wrote Eighth Grade, which has been lauded for its extremely realistic portrayal of teenage dialogue. He stretched his acting legs with a notable appearance in the Oscar-nominated comedy The Big Sick and Rough Night. Comedians Chris Rock and Jerrod Carmichael saw enough talent to place the young star behind the camera directing their most recent stand-up specials. We wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to try his hand at craft services, too.
DGA Awards honors comedy veterans who moved behind the camera
Another comedy veteran won a DGA award. Bill Hader won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series for the series premiere of HBO’s Barry called Chapter One: Make Your Mark. Director Adam McKay, in his constant switching between comedy and tragedy, took home the same award for drama for an episode of Succession. Ben Stiller won for his work on the Showtime limited series Escape from Dannemora. Don Roy King won directing honors for the Adam Driver/Kanye West episode of Saturday Night Live.
Burnham and Hader were not the only funny people noticed at the DGA Awards. Comedy titan Aisha Tyler hosted the 71st annual ceremony in Hollywood. The Archer actress herself has sat in the director’s chair a handful of times, most recently on Criminal Minds.