Danny Boyle has scooped the top accolade at the Directors Guild of America Awards for his hit film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Boyle beat out competition from Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Gus Van Sant (Milk) and Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) at the ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday (31Jan09) night.
The Best Director nod is a key indicator of possible Oscar success for Boyle later this month (22Feb09), who is up for the same nod, while the movie will compete in nine other categories.
Accepting his award onstage from directors Joel and Ethan Coen, who took home the prize last year (08), Boyle thanked the movie's distributors for taking on the hit film - which was originally meant for a DVD-only release.
He told the crowd, "I should start by curiously thanking Warner Bros for actually having the grace to do the right thing, when I think it would have been a lot easier to do the wrong thing, and pass the film on to Fox Searchlight, who are an extraordinary bunch of people.
"To step into the shoes of people like the Coen brothers, it's phenomenal. I have stolen from them all my career, in a naked and appalling way."
Veteran film critic Roger Ebert walked away with the honorary life membership award and received tributes from Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone.
The main winners are as follows:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television/Miniseries: Jay Roach, Recount
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series Night: Dan Attias, The Wire
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series: Paul Feig, The Office
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety: Brent Gunts, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Reality Programme: Tony Croll, America's Next Top Model
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary: Ari Folman, Waltz With Bashir
Honorary Life Member Award: Roger Ebert