'Chicago' Barrels Toward Oscar Night

updated 03/03/2003 at 12:00 AM EST

originally published 03/03/2003 10:12AM

It was a winning weekend for the movie "Chicago," which not only surpassed the coveted $100 million mark at the box office but also picked up two major industry awards to help position it as the likely winner of Oscar's top prizes come March 23.

The hit musical with Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones as merry murderesses-- which was nominated for 13 Oscars -- was named the best picture of the year by the Producers Guild of America on Sunday.

That honor came just a night after the Directors Guild of America selected "Chicago"'s director, first-timer Rob Marshall, 42, for the union's top prize.

Marshall's award is considered something of a surprise, given Martin Scorsese's Golden Globe victory as best director (for "Gangs of New York") and the general industry consensus that after a lifetime of making movies -- Scorsese is 60 -- it was his turn to stand in the winners circle.

Scorsese did, however, receive a special lifetime achievement award at from the DGA, and on Friday he receive the 2,217th star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. Among those who stood by him were his "Casino" star Sharon Stone and "Goodfellas" actor Joe Pesci, reports the Associated Press.

In accepting his DGA award Saturday night, Marshall thanked the great directors of musicals past, including Robert Wise ("West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music"), Vincente Minnelli ("Gigi") and the Broadway choreographer of the original "Chicago," Bob Fosse, Reuters reports.

"I stand here because of them," Marshall said.

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