Alfonso Cuaron and Jehane Noujaim win the DGA awards

Alfonso Cuaron with last year’s winner Ben Affleck

As widely predicted, Alfonso Cuaron snapped the top prize at the Directors Guild Awards last night for the space odyssey, Gravity, cementing his position as the leading front runner in the Oscar race in the best director category. A couple of weeks ago, he won the Golden Globe award in the same category.

Egyption director, Jehane Noujaim, made history for being the first Egyptian to win the best documentary director DGA award for The Square, which explores the recent revolution in Egypt. The Square is the first Egyptian film to be nominated for an Oscar.

Meanwhile, Steven Soderbergh continued to collect trophies for his TV movie, Behind the Candelabra, winning the Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a TV Movie or Miniseries award. The HBO film has already won the Emmys and the Golden Globes, but this was Soderbergh’s first DGA win.

TV hit series, Breaking Bad, was also honoured for the first time by the DGA. Its creator Vince Gilligan won the award for directing the series finale, Felina. Meanwhile, Beth McCarthy-Miller took the DGA honour for the last episode of 30 Rock.

The DGA awards ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Century City and was hosted by Glee’s Jane Lynch.

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American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave lead Oscar nominations

Last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters shocked the film industry when they overlooked Ben Affleck in the best director’s category, this year they outdid themselves, snubbing safe potential contenders such as Emma Thompson, Robert Redford and Tom Hanks in the acting categories and Paul Greengrass in the directing category. Other critics favourite films such Inside Llewyn Davis and Fruitvale Station did not receive much attention either.

Leading the field in the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were Gravity and American Hustle with 10 nominations each, followed by 12 Years A Slave with 9 nods. The trio will compete for the best picture Oscar with Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Five directors of the aforementioned movies will be vying for the best director award: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). And another selection of five gained nods in the best film editing category: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave.

David O. Russell scored a third nod in the best original screenplay category with Eric Warren. They were joined by Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, Spike Jonze for Her, Bob Nelson for Nebraska and Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club. Meanwhile, the best adapted screenplay competition included Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight, Billy Ray for Captain Phillips, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena, John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave and Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street.

Marking her 18th Oscar nomination, Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) will be competing in the best leading actress category against Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Judi Dench (Philomena). Her co-star in the same movie, Julia Roberts will be facing Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), June Squibb (Nebraska) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) in the best supporting actress contest.

Meanwhile, 5 actors received nods in the best actor category: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Golden Globe-winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).

While Tom Hanks missed out on a nomination in the best actor category, his Somali co-star Barkhad Abdi was honoured with a nod for the best supporting actor, along with Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

The Oscars will handed out at a ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 2nd March.