By John H. Foote

The Directors Guild of America announced their nominations for Best Director of 2021 Thursday, with few surprises, and two record setters.

Steven Spielberg received his 12th nomination for West Side Story, continuing to run up his numbers making him the most nominated filmmaker in the history of the Guild. He has won the award three times previously and stands a strong chance this year. Spielberg has previously been nominated for Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1998), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E. T. – The Extraterrestrial (1982), The Color Purple (1985), Empire of the Sun (1987), Schindler’s List (1993), Amistad (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Munich (2005), and Lincoln (2012), winning in 1985, 1993, and 1998. Over the past five decades, Spielberg has been nominated at least once in each.

Jane Campion is nominated for The Power of the Dog, the second time she has been so nominated, joining Kathryn Bigelow as the only ladies twice nominated for Best Director. Campion previously was nominated for her breathtaking epic The Piano (1993), which won three Academy Awards. Campion was nominated for an Oscar and DGA as Best Director.

Kenneth Branagh was nominated for his black and white personal film Belfast, Denis Villeneuve was nominated for Dune and in a popular choice, Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated for Licorice Pizza.

The DGA historically has been the best foreshadowing of the Academy Awards Best Director category. Though they have from time to time differed, often they are a five for five match. More than 75% of the time through history, the DGA winner has matched the Oscar winner.

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