Tarantino's Django wins early award

Quentin Tarantino was one of the stars to win early recognition for his new film Django Unchained at the Hollywood Film Awards.

The ceremony, dubbed the "the official launch of awards season", recognises films that haven't been released yet, and indicates those likely to be big awards contenders.

Accepting his award for screenwriter of the year, Tarantino remarked that it was strange to get an award for a film he's still working on, but added that he could use it as ammunition to defend long dialogue scenes during the editing process.

"I'll be able to say, hey, you want to take a line out of my AWARD-WINNING screenplay?" he joked.

Seth Rogen presented the comedy award to writer-director Judd Apatow, whose film This Is 40 opens at Christmas time.

"Perhaps the most amazing thing about this awards show is that none of these movies have come out yet," Seth said. "I haven't even heard of some of these movies yet. That's how far out they are.

"It's nice because it kind of feels like these are the new Golden Globes. No one knows what it is. Who voted for this?"

"No one has seen my movie," Judd said as he accepted his trophy. "This is just based on an assumption that it's good."

Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and David O Russell were honoured for Silver Linings Playbook, set for release later this year.

Other honourees at the 16th annual ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel included Ben Affleck and the cast of Argo, Amy Adams, Dustin Hoffman and Marion Cotillard. Richard Gere received a lifetime achievement award.