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BEST DIRECTOR

DGA : Best Director

 
The Contenders

Ang Lee
(Life of Pi)

Ben Affleck
(Argo)

Kathryn Bigelow
(Zero Dark ..)

Steven Spielber
(Lincoln)

Tom Hooper
(Les Misera..)
Best Director

Only two of the five nominees for the Directors Guild of America -- Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") and Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") -- are in contention at the Oscars. The other three DGA contenders are: Ben Affleck ("Argo"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables").

Spielberg's nomination is a welcome rebound after he was snubbed last year for "War Horse." Previously, Spielberg won three of his 10 bids ("The Color Purple," 1985; "Schindler's List," 1993; and "Saving Private Ryan," 1998) and last contended in 2005 for "Munich." He won Oscars for helming "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." 

Bigelow won the DGA for "The Hurt Locker" (2009), Hooper for "The King's Speech" (2010) and Lee for "Brokeback Mountain" (2005). All three went on to repeat at the Oscars.

This is Affleck's first nomination.

Historically, the DGA nominees have had an impressive overlap with the Oscar list. The two awards usually agree on winners too. Since the guild began handing out awards in 1949, the winning helmer has gone on to take home the Oscar with six exceptions:

1968 -- DGA to Anthony Harvey for "The Lion in Winter" and Oscar to Carol Reed for "Oliver!"

1972 -- DGA to Francis Ford Coppola for "The Godfather" and Oscar to Bob Fosse for "Cabaret"

1985 -- DGA to Steven Spielberg for "The Color Purple" and Oscar to Sydney Pollack for "Out of Africa"

1995 -- DGA to Ron Howard for "Apollo 13" and Oscar to Mel Gibson for "Braveheart"

2000 -- DGA to Ang Lee for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Oscar to Steven Soderbergh for "Traffic"

2002 -- DGA to Rob Marshall for "Chicago" and Oscar to Roman Polanski for "The Pianist"

And in the history of the DGA prize, the guild choice for Best Director has helmed the academy's pick for Best Picture 50 times. The 13 exceptions are:

1948 -- DGA to "A Letter to Three Wives" and Oscar to "Hamlet"

1951 -- DGA to "A Place in the Sun" and Oscar to "An American in Paris"

1952 -- DGA to "The Quiet Man" and Oscar  to "The Greatest Show on Earth"

1956 -- DGA to "Giant" and Oscar to "Around the World in 80 Days"

1967 -- DGA to "The Graduate" and Oscar to "In the Heat of the Night"

1968 -- DGA to "The Lion in Winter" and Oscar to "Oliver!"

1981 -- DGA to "Reds "and Oscar to "Chariots of Fire"

1985 -- DGA to "The Color Purple" and Oscar to "Out of Africa"

1989 -- DGA to "Born on the Fourth of July" and Oscar to "Driving Miss Daisy"

1995 -- DGA to "Apollo 13" and Oscar to "Braveheart"

1998 -- DGA to "Saving Private Ryan" and Oscar to "Shakespeare in Love"

2000 -- DGA to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Oscar to "Gladiator"

2005 -- DGA to "Brokeback Mountain" and Oscar to "Crash"

Experts’ Rankings
Thelma Adams
Matt Atchity
Edward Douglas
1
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
2
Kathryn Bigelow
Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
3
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
Ang Lee
Editors’ Rankings
Chris Beachum
Marcus Dixon
Rob Licuria
1
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
2
Kathryn Bigelow
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
3
Steven Spielberg
Ang Lee
Kathryn Bigelow
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