The filmmakers behind Academy Awards favorites "The Social Network" and "The King’s Speech" were nominated Monday for the Directors Guild of America’s top prize.
Along with David Fincher and Tom Hooper, nominees were Darren Aronofsky for the psychosexual thriller "The Black Swan," Christopher Nolan for the sci-fi blockbuster "Inception" and David O. Russell for the boxing drama "The Fighter."
Fincher and Hooper were chosen for the Facebook tale and the British monarchy saga respectively. The two films are considered Oscar front-runners, with "The Social Network" dominating awards from key critics groups and "The King’s Speech" leading nominees for the Golden Globes, Hollywood’s second-biggest film honors.
The Directors Guild winner will be announced at a Hollywood ceremony Jan. 29.
The guild prizes are one of the best forecasts for the Oscars, whose nominations come out Jan. 25, with the awards following on Feb. 27. Only six times in the 62-year history of the guild awards has the winner failed to take home the Oscar for best director.
Joel and Ethan Coen, the guild and Oscar winners for 2007’s "No Country for Old Men," missed out on a nomination this time for their hit Western, "True Grit." Also overlooked was "127 Hours" director Danny Boyle, the guild and Oscar winner for 2008’s "Slumdog Millionaire."
The awards are back to an all-male lineup after Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the guild and Oscar directing prizes a year ago for "The Hurt Locker."
Female directors who are considered awards prospects this season include Debra Granik for "Winter’s Bone" and Lisa Cholodenko for "The Kids Are All Right."
Nolan has been nominated for the guild’s film-directing prize twice before, for "Memento" and "The Dark Knight." Fincher previously was nominated for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
These were the first film nominations for Aronofsky, Hooper and Russell, though Hooper previously had a Directors Guild television nomination for the miniseries "John Adams."