American guild gives 'Rings' director its top award

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The Independent Culture

The Directors Guild of America saved its best for last when it came to honouring The Lord of the Rings trilogy, giving its top award on Saturday night to Peter Jackson for the story's final chapter, The Return of the King.

In the 56 years since the guild began presenting its top honour, the winner has gone on to receive the Academy Award for best director all but six times.

Jackson became the first film maker ever nominated for the prize three years in a row, and this is the first time he has won. He spent seven years putting the J R R Tolkien fantasy books on film. "We live in an age where people write books about nightmarish experiences on film sets, and I didn't have one of those, I had the most amazing time," he said.

The guild previously nominated Jackson in 2002 for the first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, but gave the prize to Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind. His bid last year for The Two Towers lost out to Rob Marshall for Chicago.

The Return of the King also leads the Academy Awards race with 11 nominations, including best picture and director. The Oscars will be presented on 29 February.