Kathryn Bigelow won the top honor at the Directors Guild of America Awards here Saturday, taking home the prize for her acclaimed Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker."
The DGA Awards are seen as a key indicator of possible best picture and best director winners at the Academy Awards.
The winner of the top prize at the DGA Awards has gone to claim the Oscar for best director on all but six times since 1948.
Bigelow's victory on Saturday was the first time a woman director had won the award. It also saw the 58-year-old director beat ex-husband James Cameron, who had been nominated for the honor for his science fiction epic "Avatar."
The win enhances the Oscars hopes of Bigelow and "The Hurt Locker," a gripping low-budget film about a maverick bomb disposal expert.
It followed last weekend's surprise win for "The Hurt Locker" at the Producers Guild of America Awards. Cameron's record-breaking "Avatar" had previously been regarded as the favorite after taking home best picture and best director honors at the Golden Globes.
Nominations for this year's Academy Awards - which will be handed out in Hollywood on March 7 - are to be revealed on Tuesday.
Other nominees for the DGA Awards honor on Saturday included Lee Daniels, director of "Precious," Jason Reitman for "Up in the Air" and Quentin Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds."Reuse content