French director wins film award

SUNDAY, JAN. 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES – Michel Hazanavicius won the top film honor at the Directors Guild of America Awards on Saturday for his silent movie “The Artist,” giving him the inside track for the best-director prize at the Academy Awards.

French filmmaker Hazanavicius, whose credits include the “OSS 117” spy spoofs, had been a virtual unknown in Hollywood until “The Artist,” his black-and-white throwback to early cinema.

The Directors Guild honors are one of the most-accurate forecasts for who might go on to take home an Oscar. Only six times in the 63-year history of the guild awards has the winner failed to win the Oscar for best director. And more often than not, whichever film earns the directing Oscar also wins best picture.

James Marsh won the documentary prize for “Project Nim,” his chronicle of the triumphs and trials of a chimpanzee that was raised like a human child.

It was the latest major Hollywood prize for Marsh, who earned the documentary Academy Award for 2008’s “Man on Wire.” Among those Marsh beat out for the guild award was Martin Scorsese, who had been up for the documentary honor for “George Harrison: Living in the Material World.”

Robert B. Weide won the comedy directing award for an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”


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