03/11/2002 AT 11:00 AM EST
As if there wasn't enough Oscar scuttlebutt around "A Beautiful Mind," add the oft-foretelling Directors Guild Awards to the mix. The group on Saturday gave its top prize to Ron Howard, 48, for his work on the Oscar-nominated "A Beautiful Mind." In the 54 years that the DGA award has been given out, winners have gone on to also take the Academy Award for Best Director all but five times, according to the Reuters. Howard deflected the link, however. "I don't know if that connection holds any more," Howard told the Associated Press backstage at the ceremony. "It's been so erratic the past few years that I just don't know if it holds up. I have my fingers crossed for the Oscars, but I'm just enjoying this (award) right now." Howard won the DGA award in 1986 for "Apollo 13" but wasn't nominated for an Oscar. In fact, he has never won an Oscar, despite accolades for his directorial work in films such as 1985's "Cocoon" and 1989's "Parenthood." "A Beautiful Mind," the screen adaptation of the book by the same name about the life of Nobel laureate mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., who suffered from schizophrenia, has been criticized by some for glossing over some of the details on Nash's life. But the film has been a hit with audiences and in addition to the DGA win and a SAG win for star Russell Crowe, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.