David Fincher is the lone surprise nominee by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2011, which also honored Woody Allen and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist).

Notably absent from the list is Steven Spielberg, who attended a weekend screening of War Horse in London with none other than Kate Middleton - who was reportedly moved to tears by his film.

If Spielberg were to go on and win the Academy Award for Best Director, it would mark the first time in the DGA Awards' 63-year-history that a DGA non-nominee were to take home an Oscar.

The DGA Awards are considered to be a very reliable Oscar predictor: According to Indiewire, the winner of the DGA Feature Film award has gone on to with the Academy Award all but six times in the history of the DGA awards.

Here are the five nominees and their teams in alphabetical order, along with some additional background, as presented on the Directors Guild of America Web site:

WOODY ALLEN, Midnight in Paris -- Sony Pictures Classics

Allen's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers:  Matthieu Rubin, Helen Robin
First Assistant Director:  Gil Kenny
Second Assistant Director:  Delphine Bertrand

This is Allen's fifth DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Annie Hall (1977), and was previously nominated in that category for Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Allen was honored with the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

 
DAVID FINCHER, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Fincher's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager:  Daniel M. Stillman
First Assistant Director:  Bob Wagner
Second Assistant Director:  Allen Kupetsky
Production Manager (Sweden Unit): Karolina Heimburg
Second Assistant Directors (Sweden Unit): Hanna Nilsson, Pontus Klänge
2nd Second Assistant Director (Sweden Unit): Niklas Sjöström
2nd Second Assistant Director (U.S. Unit):  Maileen Williams
Unit Production Manager (Zurich Unit): Christos Dervenis
Unit Production Manager (U.K. Unit): Lara Baldwin
Second Assistant Director (U.K. Unit): Paul Taylor

This is Fincher's third DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He was previously nominated in this category last year for The Social Network and for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008.  He previously won the DGA Commercial Award for Speed Chain (Nike), Gamebreakers (Nikegridiron.com), and Beauty for Sale (Xelibri Phones) in 2003 and was nominated in that category again in 2008.
 

MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS, The Artist -- The Weinstein Company

Hazanavicius' Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager:  Antoine De Cazotte
Production Manager (FR): Ségoléne Fleury
First Assistant Director (FR): James Canal
First Assistant Director (US):  David Cluck
Second Assistant Director (US):  Dave Paige
Second Second Assistant Directors: Karla Strum, Ricky Robinson

This is Hazanavicius' first DGA Feature Film Award nomination.

ALEXANDER PAYNE, The Descendants - Fox Searchlight Pictures

Payne's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager:  George Parra
First Assistant Director:  Richard L. Fox
Second Assistant Director:  Scott August
Second Second Assistant Director:  Amy Wilkins Bronson

This is Payne's second DGA Feature Film Award nomination.  He was previously nominated in that category for Sideways in 2004.

MARTIN SCORSESE, Hugo - Paramount Pictures

Scorsese's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers:  Charles Newirth, Georgia Kacandes, Angus More Gordon
First Assistant Director:  Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director:  Richard Graysmark
Second Assistant Directors:  Tom Brewster, Fraser Fennell-Ball
Production Managers (Paris Unit): Michael Sharp, Gilles Castera
First Assistant Director (Paris Unit): Ali Cherkaoui

This is Scorsese's ninth DGA Award nomination.  He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film in 2006 for The Departed, and was previously nominated in that category for Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Aviator (2004). In 1999, Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala, and he was honored with the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

 

[Via The Wrap, Indiewire]