Directors Guild of America nominates Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, Steven Spielberg

The Directors Guild of America has announced nominees for best helmer of 2012: Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”).

Biggest snubs: Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”) and David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”). Tarantino had previously been nominated for “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and “Inglourious Basterds” (2009). Russell was nommed for “The Fighter” (2010).

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.”

Bigelow won DGA for “The Hurt Locker” (2009), Hooper for “The King’s Speech” (2010) and Lee for “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). This is Affleck’s first nomination.

Historically, the DGA nominees have had an impressive overlap with the Oscar list, agreeing on four of the five contenders. That was true last year too when only one DGA rival failed to repeat at the Oscars: David Fincher (“Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”). He got bumped by Terrence Malick (“Tree of Life”).

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 64-year 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”

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