DGA President Michael Apted announced today that director Mike Nichols has been selected to receive the Directors Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of Nichols’ distinguished career in motion picture directing. As the Guild’s highest tribute, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Nichols at the 56th Annual DGA Awards on February 7, 2004.
“There is hardly an entertainment medium that Mike Nichols hasn’t pioneered and mastered,” Apted said in announcing the award. “You can put any of these in front of his name with the word winner: Oscar(R), Emmy, Tony, Grammy. But it’s the absolute brilliance that he brought to feature film directing from day one — with his debut of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? followed a year later by his DGA and Oscar(R) Award winning direction of `The Graduate’ — that propels us to honor his legacy to motion pictures. In his 37 years of directing films, Mike Nichols has brought millions of movie-goers into the theater. He has done it with class, intelligence, and always good humor.”
The DGA Lifetime Achievement Award winner is selected by the present and past presidents of the Guild, although the award is not presented on an annual basis. In the Guild’s 68-year history, only 30 directors have been recognized with the honor. Nichols now joins this illustrious list, which includes Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra and John Ford.
Nichols has also received the Filmmaker Award at the 2000 DGA Honors as well as the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for his 1967 film The Graduate, which also won him an Academy Award for Best Director. He was nominated for both DGA and Academy Awards a year earlier for his film directorial debut of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and for his direction of Working Girl in 1988; he also received a Best Director Oscar(R) nomination for Silkwood in 1983. Nichols has won seven Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards and, in 1961, shared a Grammy Award for Best Comedic Performance with his longtime artistic partner, Elaine May. He is one of only a handful of people to win all four of the major entertainment awards.
With a film directing career that has spanned nearly four decades, Nichols’ other acclaimed features include such notables as “Catch-22” (1970), “Carnal Knowledge” (1971), “Heartburn” (1986), “Biloxi Blues” (1988), “Postcards From the Edge” (1990), “Regarding Henry” (1991), “Wolf” (1994), “The Birdcage” (1996), “Primary Colors” (1998) and “Wit” (2001, HBO). His most recent project was the critically acclaimed movie for television, “Angels in America” (HBO), where he directed a stellar cast that included Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and Mary-Louise Parker, and he directed the upcoming film Closer starring Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, and Clive Owen set for release in Dec. 2004.