"The Hurt Locker" continues to shock and awe this award season.
The gripping Iraq war drama chronicling the lives of a bomb defusing unit has won best film and director for Kathryn Bigelow from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. On Thursday, the 58-year-old Bigelow was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film.
Bigelow is only the seventh female director to be nominated for the top DGA Award. Previously, Lina Wertmüller was nominated for 1976's "Seven Beauties," Randa Haines for 1986's "Children of a Lesser God," Barbra Streisand for 1991's "Prince of Tides," Jane Campion for 1993's "The Piano," Sofia Coppola for 2003's "Lost in Translation" and Valerie Faris, who shared the nomination with Jonathan Dayton, for "Little Miss Sunshine."
No female director has ever won the award.
Bigelow said receiving the nomination from her peers is "what is absolutely most gratifying. This is an extraordinary guild and it's an extraordinary honor for that reason. It's so incredibly gratifying to be recognized for a film that puts a magnifying glass on an insane situation. There are still men and woman taking these incredible risks and making these incredible sacrifices."
Earlier this week, "Hurt Locker" was also nominated for the Producers Guild of America film honor.
Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron, 55, also received a DGA nomination for the sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar," which has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide since it opened on Dec. 18. Cameron previously won 12 years ago for "Titanic," which is still the all-time box office champion.
Lee Daniels, 50, was nominated for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," a gripping drama about an abused, pregnant African American teenager. Daniels is the first African American to be nominated in this category.
Daniels said that he was in a state of shock Thursday morning. "I am speechless," he said, adding that Taylor Hackford, head of the DGA, called him with the news."I wasn't expecting it."
Jason Reitman, 32, earned his first DGA nomination for his film "Up in the Air," a seriocomic look at a corporate downsizer.
"I can't even begin to explain how thrilled I am to be nominated by my fellow directors," Reitman said in a statement. "This morning's honor will stay with me for a long time."
Rounding out the five nominees is Quentin Tarantino, 46, for the World War II adventure "Inglourious Basterds." He was previously nominated 15 years ago for "Pulp Fiction."
All but Daniels is nominated for a Golden Globe for best director.
Notably missing from the list was Clint Eastwood, who is nominated for a Golden Globe for directing the uplifting drama "Invictus," about Nelson Mandela and rugby.
The DGA award is considered one of the most dependable indicators for who will win the Academy Award for director. Only six DGA Award winners over the last 60 years have not gone on to win the Oscar.
The winner will be announced at the 62nd Annual DGA Awards ceremony Jan. 30 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.