The Director's Guild of America announced their nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2009 today.  While the nominees do not always match up to the equivalent Academy Award for Best Director, the winner usually does.  In fact, only six DGA winners did not go on to win an Oscar although it should be noted two of them, Ang Lee for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Rob Marshall for "Chicago," took place within the last decade.

The nominees and their directorial teams are:

Kathryn Bigelow
"The Hurt Locker"
Ms. Bigelow's Directorial Team:

        * Unit Production Manager: Tony Mark
        * First Assistant Director: David Ticotin
        * First Assistant Director (Canadian Unit): Lee Cleary

James Cameron
"Avatar"
Mr. Cameron's Directorial Team:

        * Unit Production Manager: Colin Wilson
        * First Assistant Director: Josh McLaglen
        * Second Assistant Director/Additional Unit First Assistant Director: Maria Battle Campbell

Lee Daniels

"Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Mr. Daniels' Directorial Team:

        * Unit Production Manager: Tony Hernandez
        * First Assistant Director: Chip Signore
        * Second Assistant Director: Tracey Hinds                       
        * Second Second Assistant Director: Michael "Boogie"Pinckney                                                                  
        * Additional Unit Production Manager: Patrick D. Gibbons                                                                     
        * Additional First Assistant Director: Tom Fatone
        * Additional Second Assistant Directors: Kim Thompson, Mirashyam Blakeslee
        *  Location Manager: Gregory Routt

Jason Reitman
"Up In The Air"
Mr. Reitman's Directorial Team:

        * Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
        * First Assistant Director: Jason Blumenfeld
        * Second Assistant Director: Sonia Bhalla
        * Assistant Unit Production Manager: Samson Mucke
        * Second Second Assistant Director: Joseph Payton
        * Additional Second Assistant Director: Heather L. Hogan 

Quentin Tarantino
"Inglourious Basterds"
Mr. Tarantino's Directorial Team:

        * Unit Production Manager: Gregor Wilson
        * Unit Production Manager (Germany): Michael Scheel
        * First Assistant Director: Carlos Fidel
        * Second Assistant Director: Miguel Angelo Pate
        * Second Second Assistant Directors: Jill Moriarty, Tanja Däberitz 
 

There are no real surprises with today's announcement as these have been the major contenders all along.  However, it was thought "District 9's" Neill Bloomkamp, "Star Trek's" J.J. Abrams or "Invictus'" Clint Eastwood could sneak in instead of Daniels.  With Oscar's Director branch pretty much all members of the DGA, it would be surprising if a drastic change occurred before Academy ballots are due a little over two weeks from now on  Saturday, Jan 23.

Today's announcement sets up an eventual Oscar showdown between Cameron and Bigelow who used to be husband and wife, but now seem to get along swimmingly.  There is a tremendous amount of sentiment for Bigelow not only because she's the first woman who could actually win the award (yes, "it's time" is being heard), but because of her struggle to get "Locker" made, what she accomplished on a relatively miniscule budget and a pretty much no-name cast.  Cameron, on the other hand, is being lauded by his peers for changing the way movies will be made with his global 3-D blockbuster. Our bet?  Bigelow wins both directing awards, Cameron takes home the Best Picture gold and everyone celebrates at the Vanity Fair party.  Maybe.

The DGA winner will be named at the 62nd Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 30, 2010, at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

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