NEW YORK (AP) — Adam McKay, Tom McCarthy and George Miller landed their first nods from the Directors Guild of America in a group of nominees that spanned genres from comedy to science fiction.
Nominations for outstanding achievement in directing went to McKay for the finance romp "The Big Short," McCarthy for his Boston Globe investigative drama "Spotlight" and Miller for the post-apocalyptic sequel "Mad Max: Fury Road." They are joined by Ridley Scott for the science-fiction blockbuster "The Martian" and Alejandro Inarritu for the frontier thriller "The Revenant" — who are both celebrating their fourth DGA nod.
The DGA Awards are a closely watched indicator of which directors will be likely Oscar nominees on Thursday, and which films have the strongest support from filmmakers. In an awards season lacking a clear front-runner, the only films to win the top nominations from producer, actor and director guilds are "Spotlight" and "The Big Short."
Notably left out by the directors' group were Todd Haynes for the period romance "Carol" and Steven Spielberg for his Cold War tale "Bridge of Spies." Being overlooked by the DGA doesn't mean that neither could land an Academy Award nod (the two groups haven't aligned perfectly since 2010), but at least four of the DGA nominees are likely to hear their names read on Thursday.
Last year, the overlooked Bennett Miller ("Foxcatcher") went on to replace Clint Eastwood ("American Sniper") at the Oscars, where Inarritu won best director for "Birdman." This year, Haynes could be the selection subbed in by the directors' branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures, which is a much smaller collection of filmmakers: about 400 members to the DGA's approximately 16,000.
A DGA nod is also good news for the best-picture chances of the five nominees. Since the Oscars expanded the best picture field, only one DGA-nominated movie has failed to also land in the best-picture nominees: David Fincher's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
This year, the DGA also added an award for first-time directors. The category's inaugural nominees are: Alex Garland ("Ex Machina"), Joel Edgerton ("The Gift"), Marielle Heller ("Diary of a Teenage Girl"), Laszlo Nemes ("Son of Saul") and Fernando Coimbra ("A Wolf at the Door").
Directors Guild awards nominees for documentaries, television and commercials will be announced Wednesday. Winners in all categories will be revealed at a dinner in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, hosted by Jane Lynch.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP