LOS ANGELES -- Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron won the top prize at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Sunday for the movie "Gravity" as the outer space drama gathers momentum, alongside "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave," for the Oscars.
The best director award is Cuaron's first from the DGA and is considered a strong predictor of Oscar success in six weeks. The DGA top honor has correctly predicted the best picture Oscar winner for nine of the past 10 years.
"This is truly and honor, and I'm humbled by being recognized by your peers," Cuaron, 52, said, accepting the award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
Cuaron's special effects-laden existential drama about an astronaut who becomes separated from her space shuttle also won a joint prize with "12 Years a Slave" from Hollywood's producers last week in a rare tie.
Since 1948, there have been only seven occasions when the DGA award winner has not gone on to win the corresponding Academy Award. Last year's DGA winner, Ben Affleck for Iran hostage drama "Argo," was not nominated for the best director Oscar award, which was given to Ang Lee for "Life of Pi."
Vince Gilligan, creator of the television series "Breaking Bad," also won the best director prize for a dramatic series.