LOS ANGELES — "Inside Job," a chronicle of the economic meltdown in 2008, won the documentary prize Saturday at the Directors Guild of America Awards, boosting the film's prospects for an Academy Award.
The film's director, Charles Ferguson, used "Inside Job" to grill economists and business leaders on who was responsible for the financial chaos.
"For those of you have seen the movie, it's a pretty ballsy, out-there movie," said Ferguson, whose 2007 war-on-terror film "No End in Sight" also was nominated for the documentary Oscar. "It didn't make me too many friends in the investment community."
Among TV winners:
— Comedy series: Michael Spiller, "Modern Family."
— Reality programming: Eytan Keller, "The Next Iron Chef."
— Musical variety: Glenn Weiss, "The 64th Annual Tony Awards."
— Daytime serials: Larry Carpenter, "One Life to Live."
— Children's programs: Eric Bross, "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf."
— Commercials: Stacy Wall.
For the evening's main award, feature-film directing, David Fincher was considered the front-runner for his Facebook drama "The Social Network," which would position him for the same prize at the Oscars. The guild winner almost always goes on to claim the Oscar for best director.
Tom Hooper — director of "The King's Speech," which leads the Oscars with 12 nominations — also is up for the guild honor, along with Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan," Christopher Nolan for "Inception" and David O. Russell for "The Fighter."
Once again, Nolan is odd man out at the Directors Guild honors, the only contender who was not nominated for the directing Oscar. The same thing happened to Nolan two years ago, when he was up for the guild prize for "The Dark Knight" but was overlooked for a best-director nomination at the Oscars.
Joining Aronofsky, Fincher, Hooper and Russell in the Oscar race for director are Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit."
Only six times in the 62-year history of the guild awards has the winner failed to take home the Oscar for best director.
Fincher, a past guild and Oscar nominee for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," won the directing prize at the Golden Globes for "The Social Network," which also earned him best-director honors from key critics groups.
Marking its 75th anniversary, the Directors Guild dispensed with its usual honorary and lifetime-achievement awards in favor of a look back at the union's legacy. Directors such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and last year's feature-film winner Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") introduced a series of short films centered on King Vidor, John Ford, George Stevens, Frank Capra and other guild pioneers.
The Directors Guild prizes are followed this weekend by Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards, the last big honors before the Feb. 27 Oscars.