Sam Mendes, 1917 stake claim as Oscar front runners
LOS ANGELES: Hollywood's directors handed World War I thriller 1917 their top annual prize on Saturday, one of the final major award shows that typically spells success at next month's Oscars.
The win makes British auteur Sam Mendes the hot favourite for the best director Oscar - the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards have correctly predicted the victor the past six years running.
The movie, which follows two British soldiers on a perilous mission across no man's land, has already scooped the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama and has 10 Oscar nominations.
"To those who kick dirt on the grave of the movies - not so fast," Mendes said, dedicating the win to his grandfather, who inspired the film. "I know it sounds a bit loopy, but I did feel he was with us in a couple of occasions when I was struggling."
The win comes more than two decades after Mendes first received the DGA award for American Beauty, a victory that led to Oscar wins for that film.
Mendes said it had been "frightening to be pitched into this sort of frenzy" back then, adding: "I'm 20 years older and I'm probably a little less scared."
American Factory, a film produced by the Obamas about fa US Rust Belt factory reopened by a Chinese billionaire, won best documentary.
"When we started (the film), we didn't have President (Donald) Trump even, let alone trade wars and the conflict with China," director Julia Reichert said. "We are kind of a zeitgeist film."
The DGAs also honour TV - actor Bill Hader won for directing dark hitman comedy Barry, in which he also stars, while the limited series and drama prize went to Chernobyl and Watchmen respectively. - AFP