Directors Guild Gives More Love to ‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Manchester by the Sea’

“Arrival” and “Lion” also receive DGA nominations; Nate Parker lands nod in the debut-feature category for “The Birth of a Nation”

Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Denis Villeneuve and Garth Davis have been nominated by the Directors Guild of America as the best film directors of 2016, the DGA announced on Thursday.

Chazelle was nominated for “La La Land,” Jenkins for “Moonlight,” Lonergan for “Manchester by the Sea,” Villeneuve for “Arrival” and Davis for “Lion.”

Davis also received a second nomination in the DGA category of best first-time director, along with the directors of “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Deadpool,” “The Birth of a Nation” and “10 Cloverfield Lane.”

That nomination marked the first mainstream awards attention for “Birth of a Nation” director Nate Parker, who was thought to be a real contender until information about a 17-year-old rape charge derailed his film’s awards changes.

Among the Directors Guild nominees in the main category, Chazelle, Jenkins and Lonergan’s presence reinforced their films’ status as this year’s awards frontrunners. Villeneuve has been a respected director for years, and the acceptance of “Arrival” seals his status as a first-rank awards contender. And the nominations for Davis and “Lion” pushed that film past Denzel Washington’s “Fences,” Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” and Ted Melfi’s “Hidden Figures” — who were shut out this year — into the forefront of this year’s race.

None of the nominees had been nominated before by the DGA.

The nominations mean that “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” are the only films to be nominated for the top awards by all four of the major Hollywood guilds: the Directors Guild, Producers Guild, Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild.

“La La Land” and “Arrival” also received nominations from all four guilds, but their SAG nominations were in individual categories rather than in the guild’s de facto best-picture category, Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture.

“Fences,” and “Hidden Figures” have been nominated by three of the guilds, including SAG ensemble. “Lion” and “Hell or High Water” have been nominated by three if you include individual SAG noms.

Most years, four of the five DGA nominees go on to receive Oscar nominations. Since 2000, all five nominees have matched only twice, while three of the five matched twice and only two of the five matched after a bizarre vote by the Academy’s Directors Branch in 2012.

When it comes to predicting Oscar winners, the DGA is among the most reliable of the Hollywood guilds. In the 68 years of the DGA Awards, its winner has also won the Oscar for Best Director 61 times, including 12 of the last 13 years.

The winning director’s film has won the Best Picture Oscar 52 times.

The 69th Annual DGA Awards will take place on Feb. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

The list of nominees, from the Directors Guild press release:

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM FOR 2016:

DAMIEN CHAZELLE
“La La Land”
(Lionsgate)

Mr. Chazelle’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
– First Assistant Director: Peter Kohn
– Second Assistant Director: Paula Case
– Assistant Unit Production Manager: Bart Lipton
– Second Second Assistant Director: Brett Robinson
– Additional Second Assistant Director: Dodi Rubenstein

This is Mr. Chazelle’s first DGA Award nomination.

GARTH DAVIS
“Lion”
(The Weinstein Company)

Mr. Davis’s Directorial Team:
– First Assistant Director: Chris Webb
– First Assistant Director: Ananya Rane (India Unit)
– Second Assistant Directors: Mark Ingram (Australia Unit), Sunny Tiku (India Unit), KP Singh (India Unit), Shaunak Kapur (India Unit)

This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Davis. He is also nominated in the First-Time Feature Film category for Lion. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials in 2009 for “Shadow Puppets,” U.S. Cellular.

BARRY JENKINS
“Moonlight”
(A24)

Mr. Jenkins’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Jennifer Radzikowski

This is Mr. Jenkins’s first DGA Award nomination.

KENNETH LONERGAN
“Manchester by the Sea”
(Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)

Mr. Lonergan’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Declan Baldwin
– First Assistant Director: Michael J. Moore
– Second Assistant Director: David Blazina
– Second Second Assistant Directors: Tim LaDue, Scooter Perrotta

This is Mr. Lonergan’s first DGA Award nomination.

DENIS VILLENEUVE
“Arrival”
(Paramount Pictures)

Mr. Villeneuve’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Stan Wlodkowski
– First Assistant Director: Donald L. Sparks
– Second Assistant Director: Brigitte Goulet
– Second Second Assistant Director: Karine P. Labelle

This is Mr. Villeneuve’s first DGA Award nomination.

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF A FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR FOR 2016:

GARTH DAVIS
“Lion”
(The Weinstein Company)

Mr. Davis’s Directorial Team:
– First Assistant Director: Chris Webb
– First Assistant Director: Ananya Rane (India Unit)
– Second Assistant Directors: Mark Ingram (Australia Unit), Sunny Tiku (India Unit), KP Singh (India Unit), Shaunak Kapur (India Unit)

This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Davis. He is also nominated in the Feature Film category for Lion. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials in 2009 for “Shadow Puppets,” U.S. Cellular.

KELLY FREMON CRAIG
“The Edge of Seventeen”
(STX Entertainment)

Ms. Fremon Craig’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Brendan Ferguson
– Production Manager: Dan Clarke
– First Assistant Director: James Bitonti
– Second Assistant Director: Daniel Mansfield

This is Ms. Fremon Craig’s first DGA Award nomination.

TIM MILLER
“Deadpool”
(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Miller’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: John J. Kelly
– First Assistant Director: James Bitonti
– Second Assistant Director: Daniel Mansfield

This is Mr. Miller’s first DGA Award nomination.

NATE PARKER
“The Birth of a Nation”
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Mr. Parker’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Mark Moran
– First Assistant Director: Tomas Deckaj
– Second Assistant Director: Mark C. Stevens
– Second Second Assistant Director: Scott Bowers

This is Mr. Parker’s first DGA Award nomination.

DAN TRACHTENBERG
“10 Cloverfield Lane”
(Paramount Pictures)

Mr. Trachtenberg’s Directorial Team:
– Unit Production Manager: Robert J. Dohrmann
– First Assistant Director: Jason Blumenfeld
– Second Assistant Director: Paul B. Uddo
– Second Second Assistant Director: Jonathan M. Warren
– Location Manager: Batou A. Chandler

This is Mr. Trachtenberg’s first DGA Award nomination.