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DGA Awards say yes to Affleck and 'Argo,' no to Tarantino and 'Django Unchained'

Sony Pictures

Jamie Foxx as Django in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."

The Directors Guild announced their 2012 nominations Tuesday in Los Angeles. The directors receiving this round of symbolic respect from their peers are Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Tom Hooper (“Les Misérables”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”).

Too bad, so sad for everyone else, most notably Quentin Tarantino, who many thought earned a directing nomination with “Django Unchained,” as well as David O. Russell with “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Thanks to the end of the year being prestige film season, you still have time to catch these in theaters. “Argo” has an announced DVD release date, but that’s not until February.

This marks the last of the major guild nominations, following the Screen Actors, the Writers and the Producers guilds. Its winner serves as a strong awards season indicator for who’s ultimately going to take home the Academy Award for Best Director, with just six exceptions. The last one was a decade ago, when Rob Marshall won for “Chicago” at the DGAs while Roman Polanski took home the directing award at the Academy Awards for “The Pianist.” Since the Best Director winner usually also takes home Best Picture, it’s a good sign for that too — the last time that didn’t happen was the 2005 awards, when “Crash” won Best Picture while Ang Lee won Best Director for “Brokeback Mountain.”

It’s the first nomination for Affleck, helping mark his ascendance to directing royalty. Meanwhile, it’s the second for Bigelow (following 2009’s “The Hurt Locker”), the second for Hooper (after 2010’s “The King’s Speech”) and Ang Lee’s fourth (also nominated for “Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Sense and Sensibility”). They’ve all got a long way to go to catch up with Spielberg, though — this is his eleventh nomination, starting with his first nomination in 1975 for “Jaws” and his first win in 1985 for “The Color Purple,” all the way up to his most recent nomination for “Munich” in 2005, with is last win in 1998 for “Saving Private Ryan.”

There are still more DGA awards to be announced — television and commercial directing nominees will be announced Wednesday, with documentary directing nominees announced next Monday.

The winner will be announced Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland; it’s the same ballroom where the annual Oscars Governors’ Ball is held. It will be eruditely hosted by Mr. Frasier Crane himself, Kelsey Grammer.

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