LOS ANGELES: The Revenant director Alejandro Inarritu has won the top prize at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) awards, adding weight to his chances at the Oscars.
The Revenant, starring Leonardo Di Caprio as a frontiersman fighting for survival, leads the Oscars race with 12 nominations, including best director.
Past DGA award winners have often gone on to claim the best director Oscar and the best film category.
Inarritu won the DGA award for Birdman in 2015 and then won the Oscars double.
The DGA is the industry’s leading group of film and TV directors and its opinion carries a lot of weight.
To date, there have been only seven occasions when the DGA winner has not then won the subsequent Academy Award.
For Inarritu, Saturday night’s accolade makes the Mexican the first director to win back-to-back DGA awards.
He was notably moved when picking up his trophy at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, the BBC reported.
Inarritu has already won the Golden Globe for best director for the Revenant and he is nominated for the directing Bafta.
But despite The Revenant’s leading position in the Oscars race, this year the DGA award was considered hard to call as each of the leading industry guilds has championed a different film.