'La La Land' continues dance to Oscars with DGA win

"La La Land" has captured another major Hollywood trophy as Damien Chazelle took home the top honour at the 69th annual Directors Guild of America Awards.

Chazelle, who helmed the dazzling LA-set musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, was named best feature film director at the star-studded ceremony, which took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

While accepting the honour Chazelle, 32, said, "I'm a movie maker because I love movies. I was three years old watching Cinderella on loop."

"I felt that movies were powerful because they speak to everyone: all countries all cultures," he added.

Chazelle's candy-colored love story's DGA win, coming in the wake of victories at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America, further consolidates its position as the Oscar front-runner, where it has earned a record-equalling 14 nominations, including best actor and actress.

The DGA prize is generally considered an accurate predictor for Oscar accomplishment as it has a strong handle on who goes on to win the best director at the Academy Awards, with best picture usually following.

Chazelle defeated "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan of "Manchester by the Sea", Denis Villeneuve of "Arrival" and "Lion" helmer Garth Davis in the best feature-film directing award. All five were first-time DGA Award nominees in the mentioned category.

However, Davis did not go home empty-handed as he nabbed the first-time feature directing award for "Lion" beating out Tim Miller ("Deadpool"), Kelly Fremon Craig ("Edge of Seventeen"), Dan Trachtenberg ("10 Cloverfield Lane") and Nate Parker ("The Birth of a Nation") for the prize, handed out for only the second time this year.

"Lion" starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman and child actor Sunny Pawar has also bagged six nominations at the Academy Awards, including best director and picture.

Collecting his award, Davis paid tribute to the entire cast of his film including Pawar, who was sitting next to Kidman at the ceremony.

"There's no doubt as a director, I was lucky. I was gifted such a magnificent and beautiful script but with that came immense responsibility. The first half of the film relies on the performance of a five-year-old child who did not speak English. I love you Sunny," he said.

Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan, Billy Crudup and Michael Fassbender all joined forces to lionize veteran director Ridley Scott, who was honoured with the DGA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition, leading the list of TV winners were Miguel Sapochnik, who took the prize for best dramatic TV series direction for staging the massive "The Battle of the Bastards" episode of "Game of Thrones", Becky Martin, in the comedy series category, for the "Inauguration" episode of "Veep" and writer-turned-director Steven Zaillian, in the movies for TV/miniseries category, for "The Night Of".
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