LOS ANGELES • United States film-maker Damien Chazelle's bid for Oscars glory was boosted last Saturday as he took top prize at the Directors Guild of America honours.
Chazelle, 32, was crowned Best Director for the tribute to the heyday of Hollywood musicals, La La Land, ahead of the Feb 26 Oscars ceremony.
"Movies are powerful because they speak to everyone. They speak to all countries, all cultures," Chazelle, whose father is French-American, told fellow film-makers at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
A feature of speeches during the awards season has been criticism or mocking of US President Donald Trump and the DGAs were no different. Chazelle berated the Republican for his now on-hold travel ban on nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries which would stop film-makers from attending the Academy Awards.
"That's the most beautiful idea of all - that art can make someone anywhere in the world feel like they are a bit bigger than they ever imagined," Chazelle added.
He edged out Kenneth Lonergan, nominated for visceral family drama Manchester By The Sea.The DGA awards are seen as a reliable bellwether of Academy Awards success, particularly for the best director prize, as 12 of the last 13 winners went on to win the Oscar for best director.
Another nominee for best director was Garth Davis, for adoption drama Lion. He also walked away with a medallion for Best First-time feature, and thanked his cast.