Richard Linklater's 12-year commitment to the coming-of-age tale "Boyhood" is paying off with his first nomination from the Directors Guild of America, the organization announced Tuesday.
Also nominated for their outstanding achievement in directing were first-time nominee Wes Anderson for the whimsical "Grand Budapest Hotel," and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for his dark show business comedy "Birdman." Inarritu was previously nominated for "Babel."
Both Anderson and Inarritu lost out to Linklater for the best director Golden Globe on Sunday.
In an unexpected turn, rounding out the five slots were Morten Tyldum for his Alan Turing biopic "The Imitation Game," and Clint Eastwood for his fact-based wartime drama "American Sniper." This is Eastwood's fourth nomination. He previously won for "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004 and "Unforgiven" in 1992.
"Couldn't be more excited to be recognized by my peers," first-time nominee Tyldum said in a statement. "I am thrilled that my fellow directors gave me this honor and to be in this group of talented artists is overwhelming. I am truly over the moon."
Meanwhile, David Fincher ("Gone Girl") and Ava DuVernay ("Selma") were surprisingly shut out of the nominations. Both were nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics' Choice Movie Award, and were considered strong possibilities for Directors Guild recognition.
Also noticeably absent were Angelina Jolie for her efforts on the World War II drama "Unbroken," Christopher Nolan for his space odyssey "Interstellar," and Bennett Miller for the true crime story "Foxcatcher."
The awards are a formidable predictor of the eventual Oscar recipient, whose nominations will be announced Thursday. There have been only seven times where the Directors Guild winner has not gone on to win the Oscar.
The most recent instance was in 2013, when Ben Affleck won the Directors Guild award for "Argo," while Ang Lee won the Oscar for "Life of Pi." Last year Alfonso Cuarón won both awards for "Gravity."
Still, the surprise snubs here could still receive Oscar nominations come Jan. 15. Only five times in their 66-year run have the Directors Guild nominees exactly mirrored the Oscar lineup.
With nearly 16,000 members, including television and commercial directors, the Directors Guild nominees often reflect a more populist lineup when compared with the selections of the nearly 400 members of the directors' branch of the Academy.
"In a year full of excellent films, DGA members have nominated a stellar group of passionate filmmakers," Directors Guild President Paris Barclay said in a statement.
"Inspiring and artistic, these five directors made films that left an indelible impact not only on their fellow directors and members of the director's team, but on audiences around the world."
Winners for the 67th annual Directors Guild awards will be announced at a dinner in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, hosted by Jane Lynch for the second year in a row.