Peter Jackson: Pierre Vinet
February 07, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

After three consecutive nominations, Peter Jackson finally took home the Directors Guild of America’s prize for best picture for ”The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” on Saturday, firmly establishing himself (as if he hadn’t done so already) as the frontrunner for the Best Director Oscar later this month. Since the inception of the DGA honors in 1949, the award winner has gone on to win the Academy Award all but six times. (One such exception was last year, when ”Chicago”’s Rob Marshall won the DGA prize but lost the Oscar to ”The Pianist”’s Roman Polanski.)

The evening’s other big winner was Mike Nichols. Tapped in advance to receive a lifetime achievement award, the ”Graduate” helmer also won the prize for best direction of a TV movie/miniseries for ”Angels in America.” HBO also picked up a prize for sitcom direction (for ”Sex and the City”), while NBC’s ”The West Wing” won for drama directing. And, in another possible moment of Oscar prediction, Nathaniel Kahn won the documentary prize for directing ”My Architect,” about his father, famed architect Louis Kahn.

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