DGA favorite joins first timers

Scorsese, nominee newcomers praised for craft, vision

The DGA Awards delivered feature film nominations to Martin Scorsese and five directors previously unrecognized in that category (HR 1/10).

Noms went to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "Babel," Bill Condon for "Dreamgirls," Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for "Little Miss Sunshine," Scorsese for "The Departed" and Stephen Frears for "The Queen."

The same five films attracted theatrical nominations from the Producers Guild of America this month, and the absence from both sets of noms of either of Clint Eastwood's critically lauded films might be dimming prospects for the multihyphenate in Oscar's best picture race. The DGA and PGA awards are considered among the better forecasters of Oscar winners, though neither signaled the Academy's giving the best picture statuette to "Crash" last year.

"Each of these five nominees has demonstrated a remarkable ability to blend craft and vision in the pursuit of masterful storytelling," DGA president Michael Apted said. "What makes it truly meaningful to directors is that this award is decided solely by their peers — the men and women who know firsthand the passion, sweat and fear that goes into creating feature films."

All the directors except Scorsese were first-time nominees in the feature-film category. It's the seventh nom for Scorsese, who was awarded the DGA's lifetime achievement award in 2003.

"Sunshine" represents the first feature-directing credit for Dayton and Faris, who have worked in TV and commercials. They are only the fourth directorial team to be nominated. The DGA nominated Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for "West Side Story" in 1961; Ken Annakin, Andrew Morton and Bernhard Wicki for "The Longest Day" in 1962; and Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for "Heaven Can Wait" in 1978.

Winners will be announced Feb. 3.