LOS ANGELES, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Directors Guild of America (DG) on Tuesday handed out nominations to elite directors including Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee who are viewed as front- running contenders for best helmer of 2012.
Ben Affleck earned a nod for directing political thriller "Argo, " along with Kathryn Bigelow for Osama bin Laden-themed actioner " Zero Dark Thirty," Tom Hooper for star-stud musical "Les Miserables," Ang Lee for 3-D fantasy film "Life of Pi" and Steven Spielberg for biopic "Lincoln."
Spielberg led the nominees as he has reaped a total of 11 nominations along the trail. He failed to translate the nomination into award last year. Bigelow, Hooper and Lee were all previous winners of the DGA award for "The Hurt Locker" (2009), "The King's Speech" (2010) and "Brokeback Mountain" (2005) respectively.
This is Affleck's first nomination in contention for one of the Hollywood's top awards.
Some helmers of tentpoles have been conspicuously missing from the list, including previous nominees of Quentin Tarantino (" Django Unchained"), David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master"). Wes Anderson, who helmed "Moonrise Kingdom," also failed to make the list.
The award has been regarded as a reliable precursor to the winners of the best Oscar director. All winners except six have gone on to score the Oscar in the award's 64 year of history.
The 65th annual DGA Awards will be held Feb. 2 in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, California.