If history is any indicator, this could be Martin Scorsese's year to finally take home the Oscar.
The Directors Guild of America Saturday named Scorsese best director of 2006 for "The Departed." It is the first win in this category for the iconlastic filmmaker who had been nominated seven times before.
"I can't believe this," a stunned Scorsese said after accepting the award, a hug from presenter Steven Spielberg, and a standing ovation from the audience. Scorsese went on to joke: "This is the first movie I've done with a plot."
The 64-year-old Scorsese won the Golden Globe for best director for the gangster epic set in contemporary Boston and is nominated for an Academy Award.
The DGA Awards are generally considered one of the most reliable forecasters for the Academy Awards. Over the past 58 years, the DGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have only disagreed six times.
Scorsese-considered one of the most influential filmmakers in history with the likes of "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull" - has been nominated five times before for an Oscar for best director , but has always gone home empty handed. Now it remains to be seen whether his sixth nomination, for "The Departed," will earn him the Oscar when the Academy Awards are handed out Feb. 25.
The 59th annual DGA ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza with Carl Reiner serving as host for the 20th time. Reiner was also granted an honorary lifetime membership into the guild.
Other winners announced Saturday night included:
TV drama series: Jon Cassar, "24," Fox.
TV movie: Walter Hill, "Broken Trail," AMC
TV comedy series: Richard Shepard, "Ugly Betty," ABC
Musical variety: Rob Marshall, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," NBC
Daytime Serials: Jill Mitwell, "One Life To Live," ABC
Reality TV: Tony Sacco, "Treasure Hunters," NBC
Documentary: Arunas Matelis, "Before Flying Back To The Earth."
Children's programming: Kenny Ortega, "High School Musical," DisneyChannel
Commercials: Dante Ariola.
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