Ben Affleck has won the top honour from his peers at the Directors Guild of America (DGA).
The actor-turned-filmmaker picked up his first DGA award for Argo, cementing the Iran hostage drama's frontrunner status for the Oscars.
Accepting the gong, he said: "I got to a point in my life when I was really down, really confused, really felt beset on all sides by life, didn't know what was going to happen, I thought ' I should be a director,' and so I did, and I worked really hard to do that, and I want to thank all these folks here."
Hollywood directors may have recognised Affleck, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has failed to nominate him for Best Director in what is considered one of the biggest snubs of this year's Oscars.
Since 1948, there have been only six occasions when the Directors Guild of America winner has not gone on to win the Oscar for Best Director.
The Hollywood star, a producer of Argo, said he was thrilled the film was nominated for the Oscars' Best Picture award.
"I mean, you're not entitled to win anything, you're not entitled to anything in life, I'm really happy... I'm thrilled and honored that the Academy nominated me as a producer for the movie, and I know, as our movie, we're a little bit of an underdog, we're a little bit of the little engine that could, and taking me out of it maybe helps give us purpose, because it's just about that movie, that picture, but you know, it's OK, I'm really lucky, I'm in a great place", he said.