Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Awards on Saturday, Jan. 25, earning a standing ovation and new front-runner status for the Oscars.

Five directors were honored for their outstanding work in 2013, most of them nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director as well; however, it was Cuaron who came out on top, beating Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). Of the DGA nominees, Greengrass is the only one not nominated for an Oscar – his spot was taken by surprise nominee Alexander Payne (Nebraska).

Gravity star Sandra Bullock was on hand to honor Cuaron, joking about his accent and thanking him for letting her participate in this one of a kind film.


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“You not only gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but you gave it to me when I thought I had nothing left to offer as an actor,” Bullock said.

Last year’s winner, Ben Affleck, presented Cuaron with the award, and Cuaron appeared shocked by the win, saying, “This is truly an honor, and I’m humbled by being honored by your peers.”

The DGA Awards have historically been a good indicator for the Oscars. While Affleck was not nominated for an Academy Award last year, his film, Argo, did win the Oscar for Best Picture. Traditionally, the director who wins Best Director also wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards. In fact, the DGA winner has gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars 9 times out of 10 in the past 10 years.

This could be a turning point for Gravity in a particularly difficult Oscar race. Gravity will have to beat out fellow DGA nominees, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Nebraska to take home the coveted Best Picture Oscars.

The Oscars will air live on ABC Sunday, March 2 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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