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Directors' Guild of America honour Eastwood's Baby



Story by: Jack Foley

CLINT Eastwood took an almighty step towards Oscar success when he picked up the prestigious Directors' Guild of America (DGA) award for his emotional female boxing drama, Million Dollar Baby at the weekend.

The film beat off stiff competition from the likes of Martin Scorsese's Oscar favourite, The Aviator, as well as Taylor Hackford's Ray, Alexander Payne's Sideways and Marc Forster's Finding Neverland.

And it places Eastwood as favourite to land the best director trophy at the Academy Awards, given that 50 out of 56 past winners of the DGA trophy have gone on to lift the Oscar.

Eastwood, hmself, has previously won a DGA award for his western Unforgiven, which went on to win an Oscar.

The 74-year-old veteran received his statuette from director, Steven Spielberg, and said the win was a genuine surprise.

"I've got to say, this is a real pleasure. I am as pleased a punch," he added, from the ceremony in Los Angeles.

Ironically, one of Eastwood's biggest Oscar rivals, Martin Scorsese, received a standing ovation from the Directors' Guild audience.

Scorsese has received six nominations for a DGA trophy but has yet to convert any into a win, even though he received a lifetime achievement award from the Guild in 2003.

Given Scorsese's success at the Producers' Guild Awards last week, however, it now looks as though The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby will feature most prominently at this year's Oscars ceremony at the end of February.

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