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EDITIONS
Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 12:31 GMT
Happy night for Ron Howard
Ron Howard and Russell Crowe
Howard was presented with award by Russell Crowe
Ron Howard has picked up the influential Directors Guild of America Award (DGA), giving a possible indication of future Oscar success.

His film A Beautiful Mind beat fellow Oscar nominees Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down), as well as Christopher Nolan (Memento) and Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge).

The film's star, Russell Crowe, introduced Howard at the star-studded event in Los Angeles.

The award was voted for by the 12,000 members of the DGA, to recognise outstanding achievement in direction.

Christopher Nolan and Guy Pearce
Memento director Christopher Nolan and its star Guy Pearce accepted a nominees award
The awards have in the past been a good barometer for the eventual winner of the best director category at the Academy Awards.

All but five times in 54 years the winner has gone on to Oscar success.

But there was a split in 2001 when the DGA bestowed the best director honour on Ang Lee for his martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, while the Oscar went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic.

Erratic

"I don't know if that connection holds any more," Howard said backstage.

"It's been so erratic the past few years that I just don't know if it holds up.

"I have my fingers crossed for the Oscars, but I'm just enjoying this award right now," he added.

A Beautiful Mind has received eight Oscar nominations, including best actor and supporting actress for Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connolly.

The film is based on the true story of Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash Jr, a maths professor who fought to overcome schizophrenia.

Among those on the guest list at the DGA event were Nicole Kidman, Helen Mirren, Will Smith, Halle Berry and Guy Pearce.

Happy Days

Howard previously won the same award in 1996 for his direction of Apollo 13 and was nominated in 1985 for Cocoon, but has never been nominated for an Oscar until now.

Halle Berry
Halle Berry lent the awards ceremony some glamour
The 48-year-old started his career in front of the screen as a child actor in The Andy Griffith Show before going on to become the familiar face of Ritchie Cunningham in Happy Days.

The former drama student turned to feature film directing in the late 1970s with hits such as Splash, Grand Theft Auto, Willow, Backdraft and Parenthood on his CV.

His latest movies have included Ransom, Edtv and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood have starred in his films including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Jim Carrey.

See also:

22 Feb 02 | Entertainment
23 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
21 Jan 02 | Entertainment
23 Jan 02 | Entertainment
23 Jan 02 | Entertainment
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