The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Columbia Pictures

Oscar Watch

Is The Girl With the Dragon a stronger Oscar Best Picture contender than Moneyball? The Help? Bridesmaids

Today's nominations for the DGA Awards say yes. 

Tattoo helmer David Fincher earned one of the Directors Guild's five nods. The others in the game: Midnight in Paris' Woody Allen, The Artist's Michel Hazanavicius, The Descendants' Alexander Payne and Hugo's Martin Scorsese.

There wasn't a surprise in the bunch. Each director's film was nominated for top honors last week by the Producers Guild.

Of course, the PGA nominated 10 films, not five, for its Best Picture prize. The PGA films that didn't make the DGA's shorter list were: Bridesmaids, The Help, George Clooney's The Ides of March, Moneyball and Steven Spielberg's War Horse.

The Oscar race then essentially been split into two, if not three camps: the films that are all but locks for the Best Picture category's five guaranteed spots; and, the films that are going to be praying for as many plus-one invites as possible. 

The Artist, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris have picked up all the right letter combos—top nods from the SAGs, the WGAs, the PGAs and now the DGAs. Hugo and Dragon Tattoo bagged all but the SAGs. These are the upper-echelon contenders.

A notch below are Bridesmaids and The Help. They scored WGA, PGA and, notably considering actors are the Academy's No. 1 voting segment, SAG nominations.

And then there's The Ides of March, Moneyball and War Horse. If the Oscars go with 10 Best Picture nominees, they're probably in; if the show goes with six or seven (or less), they're probably out. 

The 64th Annual DGA Awards are set to be presented Jan. 28—and, yes, to win there is to be the Best Director front-runner. And the Best Picture front-runner, too. 

Chicago's Rob Marshall was the last DGA winner to not to claim the Best Director Oscar; Brokeback Mountain's Ang Lee was the last DGA and Best Director winner to not see his film claim Best Picture. 

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