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US directors' guild opts for Return of the King

Story by: Jack Foley

PETER Jackson has won the Directors' Guild Of America (DGA) award for the final film in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King.

The award, widely regarded as a pointer to success at the Oscars, marks the first time Jackson has won the accolade, despite having been nominated for each of the films.

It does, however, make the New Zealander the firm favourite for Oscar glory, given that the winner of the DGA award has gone on to triumph in all but six occasions.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return og the King has raked in $925m (£504m) at the box office, worldwide, since its release in December.

And although it took Jackson and his team seven years to complete, he remains tremendously grateful for having being given the opportunity to properly realise Tolkien's vision onscreen.

He commented: "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."

In winning the DGA award, Jackson beat Sofia Coppola, for Lost in Translation, Clint Eastwood, for Mystic River, Peter Weir, for Master and Commander and Gary Ross, for Seabiscuit - most of whom will battle against him for Oscar glory at the end of February.

The DGA awards also honoured television work, and director, Mike Nichols, took the accolade for his work on TV mini-series, Angels in America.

The two-part drama, about Aids in the 1980s, stars Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson, and won a string of awards at the recent Golden Globes. It was broadcast on Channel 4 over the weekend.

Nichols was also presented with a lifetime achievement award for his movie career, which includes directing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Working Girl.

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