Indies dominate directors guild nominations


UPDATED 1:25 p.m. PT Jan. 8

Edgy indie fare dominated feature-film nominations for the DGA Award, with Paramount Vantage and Miramax each figuring in three of the noms.

Nominees announced Tuesday include Paul Thomas Anderson and the directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen, respectively, for "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men," both co-productions of Paramount Vantage and Miramax; Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," from Miramax; Sean Penn for "Into the Wild," from Par Vantage; and Tony Gilroy for "Michael Clayton," from Warner Bros.

All are first-time nominees, except Joel Coen, who was nominated for 1996's "Fargo." On some past films, Joel Coen has been credited as director and Ethan Coen as producer, but the siblings share the directing credit on "No Country."

The Coens have been recognized as a directing team by the DGA since 2004's "Ladykillers." Their "No Country" nom represents just the fifth time a directing team has been nominated by the guild, which did so last year with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for "Little Miss Sunshine."

This year's winner will be named at the 60th annual DGA Awards gala, set for Jan. 26 at the Hyatt Century Plaza in Century City.

"What makes this award truly meaningful to directors is the knowledge that only this one is decided by their peers -- the men and women who know firsthand the passion, sweat and fear that goes into each production," DGA president Michael Apted said.

The emphasis on art films in the DGA's feature nominations could presage a similar emphasis among major Oscar noms, as the DGA's feature-film winner has been closely linked to Oscar's director and best picture categories over the years.

Only six times since the DGA Awards began in 1948 has the feature-film winner not synced up with the best director Oscar. In the most recent such instance, Rob Marshall won the DGA Award for "Chicago" while Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for "The Pianist."

Meantime, first-time nominees appeared knocked out by being recognized by DGA peers.

Gilroy is a first-time director and new member of the DGA, but he is a 20-year member of the WGA and has been a regular on the WGA East picket lines in New York.

"It's pretty stunning," Gilroy said of the DGA nom. "Surprised doesn't even come close."

The writers strike won't keep him from enjoying the nom, he added.

"I think everybody's pretty good in Hollywood at compartmentalizing all sorts of things," said Gilroy, who also penned the "Clayton" script and whose screenwriting credits include "The Bourne Identity" and its two sequels.

"My whole life I have been inspired by the work of film directors," Schnabel said. "It is an amazing honor to be included among this year's nominees and to be part of the DGA's great history."

A list of nominees and their directing teams follows:

Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films); Unit production manager: Daniel Lupi; first assistant director: Adam Somner; second assistant directors: Eric Lasko, Ian Stone, Richard Oswald; second second assistant director: Jenny Nolan.

Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men (Miramax Films and Paramount Vantage); unit production manager: Robert J. Graf; first assistant director: Betsy Magruder; second assistant director: Bac DeLorme; second second assistant director: Jai James

Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.); unit production manager: Christopher Goode; first assistant director: Steve Apicella; second assistant director: Michael Pitt; second second assistant directors: Matt Power, Jason Ivey

Sean Penn, "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage); unit production manager: John J. Kelly; first assistant director: David Webb; second assistant director: Dylan Hopkins; second second assistant directors: John R. Saunders, Ian Calip

Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax Films); Unit production manager: Stephan Guillemet, A.F.R., Jon Kilik; first assistant director: Stephane Gluck; second assistant director: Mathilde Cavillan