Five of the best in the business will be facing off at this month's 63rd annual Director's Guild of America Awards: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell and Tom Hooper.
The five also share another surprising connection...
For all the critically acclaimed works made by these fellows—and yes, unlike last year it's all guys again—none of these acclaimed helmers has ever won a DGA award before. Hard to believe, right?
That will change for at least one, as the director's guild of America announced its nominations today: Fincher for The Social Network, Nolan for Inception, Aronofsky for Black Swan, Hooper for The King's Speech and Russell for The Fighter.
Although none of the nominees has won the DGA's top prize before, Nolan's been up for it twice for 2000's Memento and 2008's The Dark Knight and Fincher once for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Hooper previously nabbed a DGA nom in the TV movie/miniseries category for helming HBO's John Adams, while this will be the first nominations for Aronofsky and Russell.
Some surprising snubs? DGA darlings (and box-office hitmen!) Joel and Ethan Coen, who were nominated in 1997 for Fargo and won the trophy for 2007's No Country For Old Men, were ignored for their western True Grit while Lee Unkrich failed to garner a mention for the acclaimed and popular Toy Story 3.
On the doc side, Oscar-winning filmmakers Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) will square off over their respective works this year: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, a look at the former New York governor brought down by a sex scandal, and Waiting for Supeman, an expose on the state of America's public education. Rounding out the field: Charles Ferguson for Inside Job, Lixin Fan for Last Train Home, and Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger for their riveting portrait of the War in Afghanistan, Restrepo.
The DGA Award, which will be doled out at a dinner on Jan. 29, is traditionally the most accurate predictor for who'll take home the Best Director Oscar. That's because in its 62-year-old history, the winner has gone on to win a golden guy nearly every time save six occasions.
(Updated Jan. 12, 2011, at 12:21 p.m. PT)