January 9, 2009 / 2:57 AM / 9 years ago

Directors Guild unveils feature film nominees

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood directors on Thursday named the nominees for their film awards, with Christopher Nolan and his Batman movie “The Dark Knight” among those vying for top honor from the Directors Guild of America.

Cast and crew members of "The Dark Knight," actor Aaron Eckhart (L), director Christopher Nolan (C) and actor Christian Bale (R) react after winning four awards at the 35th annual People's Choice awards in Los Angeles January 7, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The DGA awards are a key stop on the road to the Oscars, the world’s top film awards, because DGA winners have a history of going on to win the Academy Award for best director.

Joining Nolan in competing for the DGA’s best feature film director honor will be Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire,” the tale of a young Indian man trying to win a television game show, and Gus Van Sant for “Milk,” which stars Sean Penn as slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

The final two nominees are David Fincher for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” about a man who ages backward, and veteran Ron Howard for “Frost/Nixon,” which recounts the interviews of disgraced U.S. President Richard Nixon by British TV host David Frost.

Since the DGA began giving out awards in 1948, all but six of its winners for best feature film directing have gone on to win the best director Oscar. At the Academy Awards, the best director winners often see their films go on to win best motion picture.

The DGA awards will be given out in Los Angeles on January 31. The Oscars, awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are handed out on February 22.

Editing by John O'Callaghan

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