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The Directors Guild of America named the five nominees Thursday for its feature film award, an honor that has tended to predict the eventual Oscar winner. Three of the nominees were first-time contenders: George Clooney for Good Night, and Good Luck, Paul Haggis for Crash, and Bennett Miller for Capote. The other two have been here before: Ang Lee received his third nomination, for Brokeback Mountain, while Steven Spielberg's nom for Munich was his 10th. Spielberg has won this award three previous times, Lee once.
The DGA Award for outstanding directorial achievement has been the same as the Best Director Academy Award in 51 of the past 57 years, including three of the four past years. Last year, both the DGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences picked Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby. "Obviously this distinction makes this nomination special," DGA fifth vice president Betty Thomas said in announcing the nominees at the guild's Los Angeles headquarters. "But what makes this award truly meaningful to directors is the knowledge that only this award is decided solely by their peers--men and women who innately know the passion and energy that go into each production."
The winner will be announced at the 58th annual DGA Awards dinner January 28 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Lee last won the DGA Award in 2000 for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Spielberg has previously won the award in 1998 for Saving Private Ryan, in 1993 for Schindler's List, and in 1985 for The Color Purple. Clint Eastwood is also set to receive the DGA's highest tribute, the Lifetime Achievement Award, at this year's show. First presented in 1953, it has been awarded only 31 times, mostly recently to Mike Nichols in 2004. (Jesse Hiestand, Reuters)