If history is any indicator, this could be Martin Scorsese's year to finally take home an Oscar.
The Directors Guild of America on Saturday named Scorsese best director of 2006 for "The Departed."
It is the first win in the category for the iconoclastic 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 a Golden Globe as 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 of the Academy Awards. Over the last 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 also was granted an honorary lifetime membership in 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," Disney Channel
* Commercials: Dante Ariola.