Ben Affleck has won the top film honor from the Directors Guild of America for Argo, and is now the clear frontrunner to take best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards.
The prize, which was awarded on Saturday, would normally mean the winner is a sure-thing to take the best director accolade at the Oscars, since the DGA recipient almost always goes on to claim the same prize at the Academy Awards.
However, Affleck, along with Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow and Les Miserables’ Tom Hooper, were shut out of the Oscar’s directing nominations — the first two omissions widely seen as snubs.
As it turns out, the snub isn’t hurting Argo’s sweep through the awards season. If anything, the perception of it as an underdog is helping the Iranian hostage thriller.
In addition to being nominated for seven Academy Awards, Affleck picked up the Best Director and Best Film award at the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier last month, shortly followed by Argo winning best film and director at the Golden Globes, and top film prizes at the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild Award.
“I don’t think that this makes me a real director,” Affleck said on stage, as he accepted the honor, ” but I think it means I’m on my way.”
According to BBC News, once backstage Affleck went on to say he had nothing but respect for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and that “you’re not entitled to anything.”
“I’m thrilled and honored that the Academy nominated me as a producer of the movie.”
“I know our movie, we’re a little bit underdog and a little bit the little engine that could, and you take me out of it maybe helps … it’s just about that picture. I feel like it’s OK, I’m really lucky, I’m in a good place.”
The Guardian notes that many of the same film professionals who vote in guild awards also cast ballots for the Oscars, so Argo’s domination at these awards is a “strong sign that the film has the inside track for best picture.”
Hosted by Kelsey Grammar, the 65th Annual DGA Awards were held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Full list of winners here.