The maker of
Brokeback Mountain, Taiwan-born Ang Lee, on
Saturday was named best director by Hollywood's top
filmmaking union, boosting his already-stellar Oscar
prospects. Lee, 51, repeated his victory at the Golden
Globe Awards two weeks ago, walking off with top
honors at the influential Directors Guild of America awards
for his acclaimed gay cowboy love story.
Lee beat out three-time DGA winner Steven
Spielberg, who was nominated this year for
Munich; George Clooney, up for Good Night,
and Good Luck; Paul Haggis, who was nominated
for Crash; and Bennett Miller for
Capote. Winning the DGA feature film directing
award bodes well for Oscars night, with 51 of the 57 past
directors' guild award winners going on to win the Academy
Award for best director, according to the union.
However, Lee won the DGA award for outstanding
directorial achievement for his 2000 epic Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon but failed to win the
best director Oscar, which instead went to Steven
Soderbergh for Traffic. The DGA awards were
handed out in Los Angeles less than three days ahead of the
unveiling of the 2006 Oscar nominations, which pundits
expect will be dominated by Brokeback Mountain
as a clear leader in the Oscars race.
Also honored at the awards was legendary
director and screen star Clint Eastwood, who received
the guild's highest tribute--the lifetime
achievement award. Past recipients of the special award
include Martin Scorcese, Spielberg, Francis Ford
Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Billy Wilder,
Alfred Hitchcock, and John Ford. Eastwood, 75, won both the
DGA award and an Oscar last year for directing Million
This year, Brokeback has won the Golden
Globe for best drama, best director, and best
screenplay as well as the top honors at last week's
Producers Guild of America Awards. It has also
received several influential critics awards.
Clooney had been seen as serious competition for
Lee in the DGA awards for his story of newsman Edward
Murrow's fight for press freedom during Senator Joseph
McCarthy's 1950s-era communist witch hunt.
Spielberg earned his nomination for
Munich, which tells of the aftermath of the
1972 Olympic Games massacre of Israeli athletes, while
Miller was up for his biopic about author Truman
Capote's writing of his novel In Cold Blood.
Haggis directed the racially charged drama
Crash, a crime thriller about several people
whose lives and differing racial backgrounds collide in one incident.
Nominations for the 78th annual Academy Awards
will be announced in Beverly Hills on January 31.
Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino will
help announce nominees for the 2006 Oscars. And voters of
the Academy will begin viewing films nominated for the
top awards starting February 4 at a series of
screenings to be held in Los Angeles as well as in
London, New York City, and San Francisco. The golden
statuettes will be handed out on March 5. (AP)