Martin Scorsese has won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) best director award for The Departed.

Despite having directed cinema classics including Goodfellas, The Godfather and Taxi Driver, Scorsese had never previously won a DGA gong.

He had been nominated seven times previously, most recently for The Aviator (2004), Gangs of New York (2001) and The Age of Innocence (1993), but had never succeeded.

"I was just trying to make a good picture. I didn't think I'd be standing here tonight," a delighted Scorsese was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Film buffs have said that the award boosts Scorsese's chances of picking up his first ever Academy Award. The Departed tells the story of the Massachusetts crime underworld and stars Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Leonardo Dicaprio.

The film has won five Oscar nominations. Mark Wahlberg is looking to beat off heavy competition for the best actor in a supporting role award, while film editing and adapted screenplay Oscars are also on the cards.

Scorsese will be most interested in the remaining two nominations  best motion picture and, most of all, the achievement in directing Oscar. He face opposition from Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima and Stephen Frears' The Queen.

04/02/2007 10:42:50