Directors Guild Anoints Ang Lee

The Best Director Oscar is seemingly Ang Lee's to lose. The Tawainese director was honored by the Directors Guild of America Saturday night for "outstanding directorial achievement in feature film" for the martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The recipient of the DGA honor has a virtual lock on the best directing Oscar. Only four times in the 50-plus-year history of the guild has the DGA winner not gone on to win Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.

Lee, whose martial arts film is up for best film of the year and best foreign film of the year in the Oscars, told the audience, including some of the most prestigious directors in Hollywood, "Wow, this is too much. The timing is good. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

The director of Tiger had already pocketed directing trophies at the Golden Globe Awards and the British Academy Film Awards.

Lee's DGA rivals included Steven Soderbergh, a historic double nominee for Traffic and Erin Brockovich; Ridley Scott (Gladiator); and Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous). All but Crowe are also in the Academy Awards Best Director race.

Reuters contributed to this story.