LOS ANGELES Master movie maker Martin Scorsese took a major step toward winning his first Oscar on Saturday when he was named the Directors Guild of America's best film director for 2007 for his thriller "The Departed."
After a black-tie audience at the Guild's awards dinner gave Scorsese a standing ovation, the director declared he was surprised by the award, which is often a precursor to an Oscar.
Fifty-one of the last 57 DGA winners have gone on to win best director Oscars and often their works have won best picture awards as well.
Despite making such classic films as "Taxi Driver" and "Goodfellas," Scorsese has never won a best picture or best director Oscar and Saturday night was the first time he had won a DGA award for a single film.
"I was just trying to make a good picture. I didn't think I'd be standing here tonight... But it is the first movie I have ever done with a plot," he told the audience.
He also called the gangster thriller set in Boston his "B-Movie" film and said he made it in honor of such crime genre directors as Sam Fuller, Robert Aldrich and Don Siegel.
The film was made by Warner Bros, a division of Time Warner Inc., and it has grossed more than any other film Scorsese has made.
The director beat Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the director of "Babel," Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls"), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (co-directors of "Little Miss Sunshine") and Stephen Frears ("The Queen") for the award.