LOS ANGELES Filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper and Ang Lee received nominations from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Tuesday, ahead of the Oscar nominations this week.
Affleck, 40, landed his first Directors Guild film award nomination for Iran hostage thriller "Argo," alongside fellow U.S. directors Bigelow and Spielberg, Taiwanese director Lee and British filmmaker Hooper.
Bigelow received a nod for her Osama bin Laden-manhunt thriller "Zero Dark Thirty," Spielberg for his U.S. Civil War-era drama "Lincoln," Lee for his 3D adaptation of best-selling novel "Life of Pi" and Hooper for his screen adaptation of hit musical "Les Miserables."
"These directors represent the highest standard of filmmaking, and their films are a testament to artistic achievement, innovative storytelling and the passion that filmmakers share with their audiences," DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement.
Notably absent from the list this year was director Quentin Tarantino, whose latest film "Django Unchained," a spaghetti-western slave retribution tale, has been gaining awards buzz after landing five Golden Globe nods including best director.
Filmmaker David O. Russell also didn't get a DGA nomination, despite his quirky comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" also building awards steam and going into the Golden Globe awards on Sunday with four nominations.
The DGA nominations are often a key indicator of Oscar nominees and winners, as DGA members are often also members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars. The Academy Award for best picture also often goes to the winner of the DGA's best director award.
This is the 11th DGA nomination for veteran director Spielberg, 66, who has previously won the award for "Schindler's List" in 1994, "Saving Private Ryan" in 1999 and who received a DGA lifetime achievement award in 2000.
"The privilege of making 'Lincoln,' combined with this absolutely tremendous recognition from my peers, is humbling. I thank everyone for including me on this short list of extremely unique and gifted filmmakers," Spielberg said in a statement.
Since 1948, there have been only six occasions where the DGA winner has not gone on to win the Oscar for best director. Spielberg, Bigelow, Hooper and Lee all won the top directing honours at the Oscars after winning the DGA award.
The winner of the DGA feature film category will be revealed at a dinner ceremony hosted by former "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer on February 2 in Los Angeles, three weeks before the Academy Awards.
(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy and Eric Kelsey; Editing by Paul Simao)