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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 11:57 GMT
Coen pair win top directing award
Joel and Ethan Coen
The brothers attended a "meet the nominees" breakfast ahead of the event
Coen brothers film No Country for Old Men has won top prize at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) awards.

"Oh, we get two of them," Ethan Coen said as he and brother Joel were presented with their trophies for outstanding feature film achievement.

The crime drama is already leading the Oscar nominations along with There Will Be Blood, with eight nods each.

The DGA awards have often proved to be an accurate barometer for who will win the Best Director Academy Award.

The film stars Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem and tells the story of a drug deal that goes wrong on the US-Mexico border.

The Coen brothers beat off competition from fellow directors Sean Penn, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tony Gilroy and Julian Schnabel.

The DGA represents the directors of films and TV programmes.

Sean Penn
Penn and his film Into the Wild lead the SAG nominations

Other winners included Yves Simoneau, who won the best director for a TV film prize for Bury My Heart on Wounded Knee.

Unlike many awards ceremonies, the DGA honours are always untelevised, so it has been unaffected by the screenwriters' strike which turned the Golden Globes into a low-key affair earlier this month.

In contrast, the Screen Actors' Guild awards will be the first red carpet event of the film awards season on Sunday evening.

Oscars doubt

The strike will not affect the ceremony - with actors showing solidarity with the writers, SAG has reached an agreement with one of the Writers Guild members to write the script for the ceremony.

US TV shows are expected to boost their coverage of this year's ceremony because of the possibility it will be the only glitzy awards event this year - there is still uncertainty over how the strike will affect the Oscars next month.

Julie Christie
British actress Julie Christie is up for the SAG's best actress prize

But some predicted the red carpet would still be a sombre affair due to the strike and the recent death of actor Heath Ledger.

"I think it will be a little low-key based on Heath Ledger, a fellow actor, and considering what the strike has done to people who have lost a lot of money, are out of work, are losing their homes," Rob Silverstein, the executive producer of TV show Access Hollywood, told Reuters.

Oscar officials have said its ceremony will go ahead as planned on 24 February but the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has not yet granted a waiver in the event the strike has not been resolved by that date.

Best cast

Sean Penn's road trip movie Into the Wild leads the field for the SAG Awards with a total of four nominations.

Alongside Into The Wild, No Country for Old Men, 3:10 To Yuma, Hairspray and American Gangster are recognised in the best cast category.

Into the Wild star Emile Hirsch is nominated for best actor along with George Clooney for Michael Clayton, Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood, Ryan Gosling for Lars and the Real Girl and Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises.

Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Marion Cotillard, Angelina Jolie and Ellen Page are all nominated in the best actress category.



SEE ALSO
Penn film tipped for SAG success
20 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Sean Penn up for directors' award
09 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Q&A: Hollywood writers' strike
08 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
In profile: Best director nominees
22 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Coen film leads Oscar nominations
22 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Coens land Critics' Choice Awards
08 Jan 08 |  Entertainment

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