By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 7, 2010 at 9:00AM
The big news in today's Directors Guild nominations was the selection of Precious director Lee Daniels, the DGA's first African-American nominee, over Invictus' Clint Eastwood.
The other four picks were as expected: Kathryn Bigelow (the seventh DGA woman nominee, for The Hurt Locker) and her ex-spouse James Cameron (Avatar), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds).
It's tempting to consider these five films the front runners in the Oscar race. And they probably are. But the Academy directors branch, a small, elite group, could go another way and select Eastwood or the Coen brothers (A Serious Man). Without a top ten list, it is possible that Invictus might not land in the Oscar best picture race. But stars Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and writer Anthony Peckham may be stronger contenders this year than Oscar perennial Eastwood.
The Directors Guild winner is an accurate harbinger of the Oscar winner. Rarely, six times, in fact, has the DGA winner not gone on to win best director at the Oscars. In 2002, Rob Marshall won the DGA for Chicago while an absent Roman Polanski won the Oscar for The Pianist.
See full nominee list is at here. The awards ceremony takes place January 30.
The Hollywood Reporter happened to interview all five nominees: