"I hope he’s looking down on us," Mendes said. "And I fervently hope it never, ever happens again"

By Julie Mazziotta and Georgia Slater
January 05, 2020 10:41 PM
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Sam Mendes has won best director at the 2020 Golden Globes, and he used the win for a special remembrance.

Mendes, 54, accepted the prize on Sunday night from actors Antonio Banderas and Helen Mirren for his World War I drama 1917.

During his speech, Mendes spoke about his grandfather Alfred Hubert Mendes — a WWI veteran — and how Alfred inspired the film.

“I’d like to dedicate this to my grandfather,” Mendes said. “He signed up for the first world war, he was age 17. And I hope he’s looking down on us. And I fervently hope it never, ever happens again. Thank you very much.”

Mendes additionally thanked his wife, Alison Balsom, as well as the “extraordinary young actors” and producers of the film.

The director beat out fellow nominees Bong Joon-Ho, Parasite; Todd Phillips, Joker; Martin Scorsese, The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood.

This is the second time Mendes has won the Golden Globe for best director, which he previously took home in 1999 for American Beauty.

He was also nominated in the category in 2008, for Revolutionary Road.

Sam Mendes
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

The best director category drew almost immediate criticism when Golden Globes nominations were announced in December with an all-male list. Critics hoped Greta Gerwig, who had also been shutout the year before, would earn a nomination for the highly lauded hit Little Women.

There has not been a female best director nominee at the awards show since 2015, when Ava DuVernay earned a nod for Selma.

Barbara Streisand is the only woman to ever win a best director Golden Globe, for 1983’s Yentl.

Before announcing the presenters for the award on Sunday, Gervais joked about the continual snub of female directors in the category.

“No female directors were nominated this year. Not one. I mean, that’s bad. I’ve had a word with the Hollywood Foreign Press and they’ve guaranteed that will never happen again. Because working with all the major studios, they’ve agreed to go back the way things were a few years ago, when they didn’t even hire women directors, and that will solve the problem,” Gervais joked. “You’re welcome.”

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony is airing live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.