Martin Scorsese's drive for his first career Oscar keeps running into a roadblock that looks an awful lot like Clint Eastwood.
Eastwood, who downed Scorsese for directing honors at the Golden Globes, did it again Saturday night in Beverly Hills, scoring the big win at the 57th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards.
The 74-year-old icon was paid homage for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for his boxing drama Million Dollar Baby.
Eastwood lapped a DGA field comprised, with one exception, of the same men (and, yes, they're all men) he'll face at the Oscars in the Best Director heat: Marc Forster (Finding Neverland); Taylor Hackford (Ray); Alexander Payne (Sideways); and Scorsese, nominated for presumed Best Picture favorite, The Aviator.
Forster is the only DGA candidate who didn't make the Academy Award cut. Mike Leigh (Vera Drake) essentially filled his place in that race.
But if Forster is feeling slighted, he should talk to Scorsese. As much as a movie craftsman who has regularly produced well-regarded works can, Scorsese knows of being slighted.
Going into this awards season, the director of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and GoodFellas had never won a DGA or an Oscar, and had claimed but a single Golden Globe (for Gangs of New York).
With the season heading into the final month, Scorsese still has but one Globe, no DGA and an arguably fading shot at the Oscar.
History suggests Eastwood, not Scorsese, is the favorite now to win the Academy Award for Best Director. Only six times in the run of the DGA Awards has the guild's winner not gone on to Oscar glory. The last director to fail to complete the circuit was 2003 DGA winner Rob Marshall (Chicago), bypassed at the Academy Awards for Roman Polanski (The Pianist).
If Scorsese is the pre-2004 Boston Red Sox, perennially cursed, Eastwood is more akin to the Florida Marlins--whenever he's in the big game, he invariably wins.
Eastwood's 2-for-3 now at the DGA Awards, his prior win coming for 1992's Unforgiven. At the Oscars, he is 2-for-5, not including the recent nominations for Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood, who in a Scorsesian twist has never been recognized by the Oscars for his acting (or squinting), took home a fistful of Oscar gold for directing and producing Best Picture winner Unforgiven.
Meanwhile, in other DGA Award races, Michael Moore and his box-office hit Fahrenheit 9/11 were frozen out in the documentary category by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni and their little-seen account of a Mongolian family, The Story of the Weeping Camel; the late Christopher Reeve, up for A&E TV movie, The Brooke Ellison Story, was downed by Joe Sargent, honored for the HBO docudrama Something the Lord Made.
Carl Reiner hosted the guild's trophy-distribution banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Steven Spielberg, Halle Berry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx and Teri Hatcher were among the presenters.
Here's a complete look at the winners of the 57th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards:
Directorial Achievement, Feature Film: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Directorial Achievement, Movies for Television: Joe Sargent, Something The Lord Made (HBO)
Directorial Achievement, Dramatic Series: Walter Hill, Deadwood (HBO)
Directorial Achievement, Comedy Series: Tim Van Patten, Sex and the City (HBO)
Directorial Achievement, Musical/Variety: Bruce Gowers, Genius: A Night for Ray Charles (CBS)
Directorial Achievement, Daytime Serials: Bruce Barry, Guiding Light (CBS)
Directorial Achievement, Children's Programs: Stuart Gillard, Going to the Mat (Disney Channel)
Directorial Achievement, Commercials: Noam Murro
Directorial Achievement, Documentary: Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni, The Story of the Weeping Camel
DGA Presidents Award: Gilbert Cates
Frank Capra Achievement Award: Herb Adelman
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award: Stanley Faer
DGA Diversity Award: Stephen McPherson