The best director award is Cuaron's first from the DGA and is
considered a strong predictor of Oscar success in six weeks. The
DGA top honor has correctly predicted the best picture Oscar
winner for nine of the past 10 years.
"This is truly an honor and I'm humbled by being recognized by
your peers," Cuaron, 52, said, accepting the award at a ceremony
in Los Angeles.
Cuaron's special effects-laden existential drama about an
astronaut who becomes separated from her space shuttle also won
a joint prize with "12 Years a Slave" from Hollywood's producers
last week in a rare tie.
"Gravity" stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone on her first
space mission and George Clooney as veteran astronaut Lt. Matt
Kowalski, who tries to save Stone's life.
In his acceptance speech, Cuaron related how part of his job as
director was examining the high-resolution satellite photos of
Earth that were used as the movie's backdrop and how little they
said about the lives of humans.
"What you cannot see from up there is this bizarre experiment of
nature that is the human experience, and that experiment is what
directors try to sort out in their films," Cuaron said. "And
thankfully that experience is as diverse as the films that these
Since 1948, there have been only seven occasions when the DGA
award winner has not gone on to win the corresponding Academy
Award. Last year's DGA winner, Ben Affleck for Iran hostage
drama "Argo", was not nominated for the best director Oscar
award, which was given to Ang Lee for "Life of Pi".
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Cuaron's film topped Paul Greengrass' Somali piracy
thriller "Captain Phillips," Steve McQueen's slavery drama "12 Years
a Slave," David O. Russell's 1970s crime caper "American Hustle" and
Martin Scorsese's tale of disgraced stockbroker Jordan Belfort in
"The Wolf of Wall Street."
So far in Hollywood's busy awards season, "12 Years
a Slave" has earned victories at the Golden Globe Awards and from
the Producers Guild of America, while "American Hustle" has won at
the Golden Globes and for best ensemble cast at the Screen Actors
Other winners of DGA awards include Vince Gilligan, creator of the
television series "Breaking Bad", who won the best director prize
for a dramatic series, and Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane
Noujaim won for best documentary.
Her film, "The Square," about Egypt's revolution and its aftermath,
has so far yet to be cleared by the country's censors, but the
director said that Internet piracy has allowed the film to be seen
by at least 750,000 people there.
Director Steven Soderbergh collected two prizes from the DGA, one
for best television movie or miniseries for "Behind the Candelabra,"
a story of the pianist Liberace and one of his lovers, and a special
prize for his service to the guild.
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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