Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu was "openly humbled" to win the Feature Film prize at the Directors Guild awards.
Iñárritu beat off competition from the likes of Richard Linklater, Clint Eastwood, Morten Tyldum and Wes Anderson to take the prize at the ceremony on Saturday (07.02.15) and admitted he was stunned by his victory.
He told the audience at Los Angeles' Century Plaza hotel: "I never expected to be here tonight talking to you -- never.
"I am openly humbled."
Making the movie - which stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts - was a departure for the director and he admits he wasn't used to being around so much "happiness".
He said backstage: "All the films I have done before Birdman always left people with a powerful feeling of emptiness or sadness.
"It was an emotional thing and I feel very strange and new and beautiful that people felt more cheerful. There is some happiness floating in the room after the film finished. I wasn't used to it."
The DGA win is often seen as a good indicator as to what will triumph at the Academy Awards on February 22 but Alejandro insists he has "no expectations".
Asked about his Oscar preparations, he said: "You can't prepare. You just have to go there and have fun. And whatever happens, it's already decided. There's nothing to do. It is what it is. I'm very grateful but serene with no expectations."
Elsewhere at the ceremony, which was hosted by Jane Lynch, Laura Poitras picked up the Documentary Film accolade for her work on 'Citizenfour', a film about Edward Snowden, while three other female directors also triumphed, with 'Homeland's Lesli Linka Glatter picking up the Television Drama prize, Jill Holloway winning comedy for 'Transparent' and Lisa Cholodenko scooping a trophy for her work on miniseries 'Olive Kitteridge'.
Directors Guild Awards 2015 winners list:
Alejandro González Iñárritu, 'Birdman'
Lesli Linka Glatter, 'Homeland', 'From A to B and Back Again'
Jill Soloway, 'Transparent', 'Best New Girl'
Movies for Television and Mini Series:
Lisa Cholodenko, 'Olive Kitteridge'
Laura Poitras, 'Citizenfour'
Glenn Weiss, The 68th Annual Tony Awards
Variety/Talk/News/Sports Regularly Scheduled:
Dave Diomedi, 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon', 'Episode #1'
Anthony B. Sacco, 'The Chair', 'The Test'
Jonathan Judge, '100 Things To Do Before High School', 'Pilot'