The Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius, won the top honour Saturday at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for The Artist, paving the way to an almost certain win at the Oscars next month.
Many of the DGA members vote for the Oscars and since 1948, only six DGA award winners failed to claim the industry’s most prestigious award for the best director.
The previously unknown French director captured the DGA’s outstanding achievement in feature film award, seeing off competition from heavy-weight Hollywood directors such as Martin Scorsese for Hugo, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris, David Fincher for The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and Alexander Payne for The Descendants.
The black-and-white, silent movie has recently won 3 Golden Globes and the top Producers Guild of America Award, and is up for 10 Oscars, including best picture and best director.
Other winners Saturday were Britain’s James Marsh for the documentary Project Nim, Jon Cassar for the mini-series The Kennedys, Patty Jenkins for the US remake of the TV drama The Killing, and Robert Weide for the Palestinian Chicken episode from the comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm.