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Eastwood steps into championship ring

Times Staff Writer

Clint Eastwood was named best director of 2004 on Saturday by the Directors Guild of America for his film “Million Dollar Baby.” Combined with the recent honors he’s received from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the Golden Globe awards; the New York Film Critics Circle; and the National Society of Film Critics, the DGA accolade makes Eastwood the front-runner for the best director Oscar.

The boxing drama has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture, actor for Eastwood, actress for Hilary Swank and supporting actor for Morgan Freeman.

Eastwood, 74, won the DGA award 12 years ago for “Unforgiven” and was nominated last year for “Mystic River.” He is the oldest director to receive the DGA’s top honor.

Since 1949, the DGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have disagreed only six times in their best director picks.

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The 57th annual DGA ceremony was held Saturday night in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Carl Reiner served as master of ceremonies for the 19th time.

Other winners:

* Documentary: Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni, “Story of the Weeping Camel”

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* Dramatic series: Walter Hill, “Deadwood” (HBO)

* Daytime serials: Bruce Barry, “Guiding Light” (CBS)

* Comedy series: Tim Van Patten, “Sex and the City” (HBO)

* Commercials: Noam Murro

* Children’s program: Stuart Gillard, “Going to the Mat” (Disney)

* Musical variety: Bruce Gowers, “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles” (CBS)

* Television movie: Joe Sargent, “Something the Lord Made” (HBO)

A version of this story appeared Sunday in some editions of The Times.

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