Homegrown director Anthony Chen beat Japanese film-maker Hirokazu Kore-eda to win the award for Achievement In Directing at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Thursday.
According to an article in The Straits Times Communities, Chen, 29, tells Life! repeatedly over the telephone from Brisbane, Australia, where the awards were held that he "still can't believe it".
He adds: "I just can't believe it because I have been such a big fan of Kore-eda for years. I can't imagine winning over my idol."
Chen won the award for his debut feature Ilo Ilo, a drama about a Filipino maid and a Singaporean family during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He beat acclaimed film-maker Kore-eda for the film Like Father, Like Son, about a father who discovers that the son he has been raising for years is not his own biological child.
Other directors that were in the running for the same award are Kazakhstan-born Emir Baigazin for Uroki Garmonii (Harmony Lessons), Iraq-born Hiner Saleem for My Sweet Pepperland, and Iranian Shahram Mokri for Mahi Va Gorbeh (Fish And Cat).
Says Chen: "This is an incredible honour since the other films are very strong contenders - some of the best from Asia Pacific this year."
His latest win brings the awards haul for Ilo Ilo to a total of 23, which includes the much coveted Camera d'Or at Cannes Film Festival and four Golden Horse Awards in Taipei last month, including for Best Feature Film.