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Affleck Wins Directors' Top Award As 'Argo' Hurtles Toward Oscars

posted 3 Feb 2013, 05:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 3 Feb 2013, 05:31 ]

Ben Affleck's "Argo" picks up another top honor at the Directors Guild Awards in Hollywood.

 LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIAUNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 02, 2013)  DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA) - Actor-turned-filmmaker Ben Affleck won the top honor from his peers at theDirectors Guild of America on Saturday (February 02) for the movie "Argo," cementing the Iran hostage drama's frontrunner status for the Oscars.

The Hollywood directors' recognition for Affleck, however, is an awkward result for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which failed to nominate him for Best Director in what is considered one of the biggest snubs of this year's Oscars.

Since 1948, there have been only six occasions when the Directors Guild of America(DGA) winner has not gone on to win the Oscar for Best Director.

"I mean, you're not entitled to win anything, you're not entitled to anything in life, I'm really happy... I'm thrilled and honored that the Academy nominated me as a producer for the movie, and I know, as our movie, we're a little bit of an underdog, we're a little bit of the little engine that could, and taking me out of it maybe helps give us purpose, because it's just about that movie, that picture, but you know, it's OK, I'm really lucky, I'm in a great place," Affleck said after collecting his first DGA award. The Hollywood star, a producer of "Argo", said he was thrilled the film was nominated for the Oscars' Best Picture award.

The DGA is often a good indicator of Oscar winners as DGA members are also members of the Academy. The Oscar for Best Picture also often goes to the winner of the DGA's award. The Oscars will be held on Feb. 24.

Affleck triumphed on Saturday over four directors who have all won the top DGA honor and gone on to win the Best Director Oscar.

Among those defeated on Saturday was Steven Spielberg, whose Civil War-era drama "Lincoln" has lost to "Argo" in successive award ceremonies this season. The two-time DGA winner for "Schindler's List" in 1994 and "Saving Private Ryan" in 1999 collected his 11th nomination from his peers with "Lincoln".

The other three unsuccessful nominees were Kathryn Bigelow for Osama bin Laden-manhunt thriller "Zero Dark Thirty," Ang Lee for his 3D adaptation of the bestselling novel "Life of Pi", and Tom Hooper, for his screen adaptation of the hit musical "Les Miserables".

In "Argo", which is based on a real account, Affleck also plays the lead role of a CIA agent entrusted with extracting six Americans from revolutionary Iran after the U.S. embassy is stormed. The agent, with help from Hollywood, creates a fake film and makes the Americans part of the crew.

So far in the awards season, Affleck has won Best Director at the Golden Globes while "Argo" won Best Drama. The cast was also recognized with the top honor from theScreen Actors Guild.

"There was a point in my life where I was really down and really confused ... didn't know what was going to happen and I thought 'I could be a director'," Affleck told the high-power Hollywood crowd, in his acceptance speech.

The Directors Guild also paid tribute to Czech director Milos Forman, who won Oscars and DGAs for both "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Amadeus," awarding him a lifetime achievement award. Forman, who did not attend the event, was toasted with a tribute by Taylor Hackford, president of the Directors Guild.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be handed out in a telecast on Sunday, February 24.