'Birdman' gets new Oscars boost with Directors Guild win
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (L) and Maria Eladia Hagerman attend the 67th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on February 7, 2015 in Century City, California. AFP PhotoDark comedy "Birdman" got another pre-Oscars boost Feb. 7, winning the top prize at the Directors Guild of America honors as Hollywood gears up for the all-important Academy Awards this month.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was crowned best director at the climax of the DGA show, barely two weeks before the Oscars on February 22.
The 51-year-old's success repeated that of fellow Mexican Alfonso Cuaron, who won the DGA top prize last year for "Gravity," and went on to win the Best Director prize at the Oscars.
"I never expected to be here talking to you tonight," Inarritu told his fellow filmmakers gathered at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Century City.
"I'm openly humbled."
The DGA awards are seen as a key predictor of Academy Awards success, particularly for the best director prize.
In the last 10 years, all but one DGA winner has gone on to win the Oscar for best director. The only exception was in 2013 when Ben Affleck was not nominated for director for "Argo," though the film did go on to take best picture at the Academy Awards.
"Glee" star Jane Lynch hosted the star-studded event for 1,600 guests, while presenters on stage included Pierce Brosnan, Bradley Cooper, Jodie Foster, Bill Murray, Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand.
Inarritu beat out rivals Clint Eastwood ("American Sniper"), Richard Linklater ("Boyhood"), Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game") and Wes Anderson ("Grand Budapest Hotel") for the evening's biggest award.
"Birdman," about a washed-up film actor trying to revive his career on Broadway, is soaring ahead in Hollywood's annual awards season, having already won the top prize at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards two weeks ago.
The film also won two Golden Globes last month: best actor for Michael Keaton, and best screenplay. It followed that success at the Producers Guild Awards two weeks later, taking home the top prize.
"Birdman" and stylish crime caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel" have the most nominations at this year's Oscars, with nine nods each.
In other honors Saturday, "Citizenfour," about National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, took best documentary director prize for filmmaker Laura Poitras.
On the small screen, best comedy series went to Jill Soloway for Amazon's "Transparent," which scored a first ever Golden Globe for the online retailer last month, a breakthrough in its bid to catch up with Netflix.
Best TV drama went to Lesli Linka Glatter, director of spy series "Homeland."
Lisa Cholodenko won the TV movie/miniseries DGA award for HBO's "Olive Kitteridge."