- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES — “Midnight in Paris” filmmaker Woody Allen and “Hugo” director Martin Scorsese were among the nominees Monday for the feature film prize from the Directors Guild of America.

Also nominated for the 64th annual Directors Guild honors were David Fincher for the thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Michel Hazanavicius for the silent film “The Artist,” and Alexander Payne for the family drama “The Descendants.”

The only first-time contender among the nominees, French filmmaker Mr. Hazanavicius could emerge as a front-runner for “The Artist,” his black-and-white throwback to early Hollywood that has been a favorite at earlier honors.

Mr. Scorsese now has nine Directors Guild nominations and is a past feature-film winner for 2006’s “The Departed,” as well as a TV drama winner a year ago for an episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” The family film “Hugo” was a departure for Mr. Scorsese, known for dark crime tales, and the movie also was his first shot in 3-D.

Mr. Allen has been nominated five times and won for 1977’s “Annie Hall.” He had not been nominated since his 1989 “Crimes and Misdemeanors” but has been on a critical and commercial resurgence for the romantic fantasy “Midnight in Paris,” his biggest hit in decades.

This was the third nomination for Mr. Fincher, who also was in the running a year ago for “The Social Network.” Mr. Payne was nominated one time previously, for 2004’s “Sideways.”

Missing out on a nomination was three-time Directors Guild winner Steven Spielberg for “War Horse.” Also left out was Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life,” an epic family drama that won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival but was a love-it-or-hate-it title among critics and fans.

The Directors Guild field is one of Hollywood’s most accurate forecasts for who will be in the running at the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 24. Most guild contenders go on to grab nominations for the Oscars.

Only six times in the previous 63 years has the guild’s winner failed to receive the directing prize at the Oscars.

Last year, Tom Hooper won at both the Directors Guild and the Oscars for “The King’s Speech.” Mr. Fincher had been the favorite to win at the Directors Guild for “The Social Network,” but key prizes from Hollywood trade guilds built late momentum for “The King’s Speech,” which dominated the Oscars with four awards, including best picture.

The guild will announce its winners at a Jan. 28 dinner, with Kelsey Grammer as host.



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