LOS ANGELES >> It was another sunny day on Jan. 12 for Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical “La La Land” and Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale “Moonlight” on the long journey to the Oscars.
After winning the top film awards at the Golden Globes, Chazelle and Jenkins both scored their first nominations for a Directors Guild Award, further enhancing the likelihood of an Oscar nod.
The guild’s nominees for outstanding directorial achievement for a feature film also included “Manchester by the Sea” director Kenneth Lonergan, “Lion” director Garth Davis and Denis Villeneuve of “Arrival.”
Davis is also nominated for best first feature along with Nate Parker for “Birth of a Nation.” Publicity about a 17-year-old rape allegation against Parker had seemed to sink his chances for awards. Parker was acquitted.
Other first feature nominees include Dan Trachtenberg for “10 Cloverfield Lane,” Tim Miller for “Deadpool” and Kelly Fremon Craig for “The Edge of Seventeen.”
While the DGA nominees for feature film achievement rarely match up exactly with nods for the Academy Award, the guild choices can be a formidable predictor of the eventual Oscar winner.
With nearly 16,000 members, including television and commercial directors, the guild often selects a more populist lineup when compared with the selections of the nearly 400 members of the directors’ branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Last year, Alejandro G. Inarritu picked up the feature film award for “The Revenant” before going on to win best director at the Oscars.
Voting for Oscar nominations closes Jan. 13, and nominees will be announced on Jan. 24.
With nominations from the Producers Guild this week, “La La Land,” ”Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” appear to be the front runners.
Notably absent from the guild nominations were Martin Scorsese for “Silence,” Denzel Washington for “Fences” and Mel Gibson for “Hacksaw Ridge,” a film that left the Golden Globes empty-handed.
Winners of the 69th annual Directors Guild awards will be announced at a dinner in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.