Gravity Director Wins As Oscars Race Hots Up
Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron has won one of the film industry's top awards, giving his space thriller the edge in one of the most closely-fought Oscar battles for years.
The Mexican, who previously directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and produced The Assassination of Richard Nixon, won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for best feature film at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
The 52-year-old beat 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen, American Hustle's David Russell and The Wolf of Wall Street's Martin Scorsese to claim a major boost ahead of the Oscars on March 2.
All four are up for best director at the Academy Awards but the winner of the DGA prize nearly always picks up the equivalent gong on Hollywood's biggest night of the year.
In the 65-year history of the DGA awards, the winning director has failed to take home the Oscar just seven times.
Their film is often also named best picture.
Sandra Bullock, who starred alongside George Clooney in Cuaron's film, in which two astronauts become separated from their space station, introduced the director on stage to receive his award.
She joked she could barely understand him on set, saying: "I had no idea whether ice meant ice or eyes."
In his acceptance speech, Cuaron said: "This is truly an honour and I'm humbled at being recognised by my peers."
Other winners at the DGA awards included Vince Gilligan, who was named best drama director for Breaking Bad, and Steven Soderbergh, who won the television and mini series prize for Behind the Candelabra.
The Oscars take place on March 2, with Gravity and American Hustle nominated for 10 awards and 12 Years A Slave in the running for nine.
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