French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius won the top honor Saturday from the Directors Guild of America for "The Artist," an award that has traditionally been a strong indicator of Oscar glory.
Hazanavicius captured the DGA's outstanding achievement in feature film award, beating out competition from Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese for "Midnight in Paris" and "Hugo" respectively, and David Fincher and Alexander Payne for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "The Descendants."
"The Artist" had already won the top prize from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) earlier this month -- another key pre-Oscar bellwether -- and picked up three Golden Globes including best picture on January 15.
The film, a tribute to the silent movie era in which a non-speaking star battles to save his career after it is torpedoed by the arrival of the "talkies," is up for 10 Oscars, including best picture and best director.
The Academy Awards, the culmination of the Hollywood awards season, will be held on February 26.
Since 1948, only six DGA award winners have failed to also take the Oscar for best director, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry.
Other winners Saturday were James Marsh for the documentary "Project Nim," Jon Cassar, for the mini-series "The Kennedys," Patty Jenkins for television drama "The Killing," and Robert Weide for the chapter "Palestinian Chicken" from the comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
"The Artist" is also up for three top honors at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards on Sunday evening.
Source: AFP Global Edition