The Birdman director has edged into the lead in a tantalising Oscar race as he earned top feature honours at the Directors Guild Of America’s 67th annual DGA Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday [February 7].

The latest triumph for the US-based Mexican film-maker (pictured at right on set of Birdman with Michael Keaton) ratchets up the stakes in the contest with Boyhood director Richard Linklater and indeed the two are in contention for tonight’s BAFTA.

Laura Poitras won best director in the documentary feature category for Citizenfour.

Steven Spielberg took to the stage to announce that starting next year at the 68th awards, the DGA will bestow a First-Time Feature Film Director Award.