Steven Spielberg has been nominated for the 11th time for his biopic Lincoln. He has won three DGA honors previously for 1998's Saving Private Ryan, 1993's Schindler's List and 1985's The Color Purple.
Kathryn Bigelow's terrorist thriller Zero Dark Thirty has earned her a second chance to take the honor after winning for 2009's The Hurt Locker.
Ang Lee, up for the visually impressive Life of Pi, has competed three times before and won twice, for 2005's Brokeback Mountain and 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. His Sense and Sensibility from 1995 was also recognized.
Lee had this reaction to the news about his highest-grossing film to date, which is closing in on $400 million worldwide: "I am proud and humbled to be receiving this nomination from my guild. It means so much to be recognized by my peers and I am truly grateful for this honor. Life of Pi was a true collaboration that involved gifted artists both in front of and behind the camera. I share this nomination with every person that I had the good fortune to work with on this film."?
Tom Hooper follows up his DGA win for 2010's The King's Speech by being nominated for his musical Les Miserables. He is also a past winner in the TV category for the HBO miniseries John Adams in 2008.
The newbie this year is actor-turned-director Ben Affleck, in the running for his true-life thriller Argo.
Likely candidates left out of the running: David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook and Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained.
The DGA is considered one of the most reliable predictors of the outcome of the same category in the Oscar race: The winner, which will be announced at a ceremony on Feb. 2, has differed from the academy's choice only six times since 1948.
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