Despite being snubbed of an Oscar nomination in the directing category, the filmmaker won the outstanding directorial achievement award at the black-tie event.
The guild honor is typically a final blessing for the film that goes on to win best-picture and director at the Academy Awards. However, this year's awards season is rather strange since the guild and Oscar directing lineups have little in common.
At the Oscars, Spielberg and Lee are joined in the directing category by Michael Haneke for "Amour," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Benh Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Affleck, "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow and "Les Miserables" director Tom Hooper were left out.
Films generally have little chance of winning best picture if they are not nominated for best director. But Affleck's "Argo," has been sweeping up all the major awards since the Oscar nominations.
In the 64-year history of the guild awards, there has only been six times in which the winner of the guild honor has failed to follow up with an Oscar. Affleck win Saturday makes it No. 7.
Malik Bendjelloul won the DGA's documentary award for "Searching for Sugar Man," a film on the fate of Rodriquez, a critically acclaimed but obscure singer-songwriter from the 1970s. The film also is nominated for best documentary at the Oscars. Jay Roach won in the TV movies and miniseries category for "Game Change," which stars Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in her run for vice-president in 2008.
Kelsey Grammer hosted the Directors Guild of America Awards at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
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The Oscars will air live on ABC7 on Feb. 24.
CNS and The Associated Press contributed to this report.