What to Read Next

Cuaron wins directors award as "Gravity" gathers speed to Oscars

Eric Kelsey
26 January 2014
Ben Affleck smiles as he presents Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron with the Feature Film award for "Gravity" during the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills
Actor and director Ben Affleck (R) smiles as he presents Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron with the Feature Film award for "Gravity" during the 66th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 25, 2014. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron won the top prize at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Sunday for the movie "Gravity" as the outer space drama gathers momentum, alongside "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave", for the Oscars.

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 filmmakers make."

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".

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 Guild Awards.

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)

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Hurry, Don't Be Late For This Very Important Deal!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

9 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Crazy Powerful Tactical Flashlights Selling Fast!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

$200 Military Flashlight Surplus Dumped

Highly anticipated LumiTact G700 Tactical Flashlight Overrun - Now available to civilian population

Medicare Supplement Plans For Those Aged 65 And Up

New rates for Medicare supplement plans have arrived. Click here for a free price quote and learn how to improve your current coverage plan.

Banks Feel 'Cheated' When Homeowners Do This

Homeowners are surprised in 2016. Before you pay your mortgage this month, you need to see this. Own a home? Read this now!

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Looking To Buy New Car Tires?

Confidently buy Goodyear® tires online with help from the experts! We'll help you find and compare tires based on your vehicle or tire size.