Will third time be a charm for Peter Jackson? Jackson's work for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, along with Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation, Clint Eastwood for Mystic River, Gary Ross for Seabiscuit, and Peter Weir for Master and Commander, is nominated for the Directors' Guild Award. The DGA nominees are very similar to the Golden Globe nominees, except Anthony Minghella was nominated instead of Ross. Guess the Cold Mountain machine doesn't fly with the directors, huh, Miramax (the Daily News is shocked that Minghella was not nominated). What this year's DGA nominees tell us is that Sofia Coppola and the momentum behind Lost in Translation are no joke and that Hollywood loves a well made studio movie like Seabiscuit, even if it's 40 minutes too long.
Jackson wasn't even nominated for an Oscar last year (Pedro Almodovar got the nod for Talk to Her), though he is widely considered the front runner to win this year. So, in terms of how the Best Director Oscar race is shaping up, it seems that likely nominees are Coppola, Eastwood, Jackson, and Weir, with a wildcard fifth slot, possibly going to Ross, Minghella, or maybe even Ed Zwick for The Last Samurai. The last time a female director was nominated was in 1993, when Jane Campion directed The Piano (she ended up winning best original screenplay, a great prize, but with writer-directors, it's the runner up prize...see also: Fargo, The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, L.A. Confidential, and Talk to Her).
Last year, Rob Marshall won the DGA award for Chicago while Roman Polanski won the Oscar for The Pianist, which leads Gothamist to say that the "modern" age of Oscars and DGA awards shows there is now less and less correlation between winning the DGA and winning the Oscar later.