In yet another sign that an Oscar win for The Artist is all but inevitable, that film's director, Michel Hazanavicius, won the Directors Guild of America's award for feature film directing on Saturday night.
The win kept alive what has been an unimpeded road to the podium for T he Artist, which also won a key victory at the Producers Guild Awards last weekend.
"I don't know what frontrunner means, because I've never been through this before," Hazanavicius (left, with his star and wife Berenice Bejo) said to TheWrap a few minutes after winning.
"The movie started so low – so unusual, nobody wanted to put money into it – and it has now gone so high that it's really beautiful. We're just enjoying it day after day, ceremony after ceremony, awards after awards."
Speaking of his DGA competition, he added, "It would have been no problem to lose to Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Fincher or Alexander Payne. But of course, it's great to win."
In the 63-year history of the DGA Awards, its winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Director all but six times. In 50 of those cases, including the last five in a row, the DGA winner's film has also been named Best Picture.
In the documentary category, James Marsh won for Project Nim over competition that included double nominee Scorsese for George Harrison: Living in the Material World and Steve James for The Interrupters.
Unlike the feature film category, the doc category can't have any influence on the Oscar race: Project Nim wasn't nominated by the Academy. (Only one DGA nominee, Joe Berlinger's and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, was.)
Robert B. Weide won the television comedy award for an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, while Patty Jenkins won the drama award for the pilot to The Killing.
The award for a television movie or miniseries went to Jon Kassar for The Kennedys – a sweet outcome for a controversial series that was dropped by the History Channel for being "not fit for the History brand," and picked up by ReelzChannel.
The DGA victory for Hazanavicius abolished any momentum that may have come when Scorsese's Hugo topped The Artist in overall Oscar nominations, 11 to 10.