HOLLYWOOD -- Oliver Stone won top honors from his peers for best motion picture direction in 1986 for the searing Vietnam War drama 'Platoon,' cementing his role as the favorite for the same honor in the Oscar race.
'This really is a Cinderella story,' a beaming Stone said Saturday night at the 39th annual awards presentation of the Directors Guild of America.
'It's an honor to be in this room with all the idols of my youth,' he said, accepting his plaque from last year's Oscar winner Sydney Pollack. 'I shall cherish this award for the rest of my life.'
Stone beat out Woody Allen, for 'Hannah and Her Sisters,' Randa Haines, for 'Children of a Lesser God,' James Ivory, for 'A Room with a View,' and Rob Reiner, for 'Stand By Me.' Only Woody Allen among the nominated directors did not attend the ceremony.
The awards ceremony was free of the controversy of last year's presentation when Steven Spielberg received top honors after failing to receive an Oscar nomination for best director for 'The Color Purple.'
The victory for Stone makes him an odds-on favorite for an Oscar since only three times in the history of the awards has the winning DGA director failed to win an Academy Award.
In addition to last year's snub of Spielberg, Anthony Harvey, the 1968 DGA award winner for 'The Lion in Winter,' lost to Carol Reed for 'Oliver' and in 1972, Francis Ford Coppola won the DGA for 'The Godfather,' while the Oscar went to Robert Fosse for 'Cabaret.'
Stone could also win Oscars for either his screenplay for 'Platoon,' or his screenplay for 'Salvador' at the Oscar presentations March 30.
In addition to best film director of the year, the Guild presented eight television awards.
Dramatic Special: Lee Grant for 'Nobody's Child.'
Dramatic Shows -- Night: Will Mackenzie, 'Atomic Shakespeare,' an episode of 'Moonlighting.'
Dramatic Shows -- Day: Catlin Adams, 'Wanted -- the Perfect Guy,' an 'After-School Special.'
Comedy: Terry Hughes, 'Isn't it Romantic,' an episode of 'Golden Girls.'
Musical-Variety: Walter C. Miller, 'Liberty Weekend.'
Sports: Harry J. Coyle, 'New York Mets vs Boston Red Sox,' the baseball World Series.
Documentary-Actuality: Perry Miller, 'Adato, Eugene O'Neill, a Glory of Ghosts.'
Commercial: Joe Pytka, 'Chuckwagon.'