Parker was one of the five nominated filmmakers in the
outstanding directorial achievement for a first-time feature
film category, the only major awards recognition "Birth of a
Nation" has received so far.
In the main category for outstanding directorial achievement in
a feature film, five awards-season frontrunners were nominated.
The Directors Guild picks often go on to score Oscar success,
such as last year's winner Alejandro Inarritu, who also won the
best directing Oscar for "The Revenant."
Damien Chazelle, nominated for romantic musical "La La Land,"
will contend alongside Barry Jenkins for his intimate drama
"Moonlight," Garth Davis for adoption drama "Lion," Kenneth
Lonergan for the drama "Manchester by the Sea" and Denis
Villeneuve for his poetic alien film "Arrival."
"Birth of a Nation," the Fox Searchlight film about a 19th
century slave rebellion, is written, directed, produced and
stars Parker, and was seen as a strong Oscar contender for its
diverse cast until reports of the 1999 lawsuit, of which Parker
was acquitted, surfaced last year.
Parker addressed the case in interviews and on Facebook, saying
he was devastated to learn that his female accuser had taken her
own life in 2012, but he said he would not apologize over the
case, instead asking people to look beyond it and focus on the
Despite Fox Searchlight standing behind the film and campaigning
for awards, the movie has failed to land recognition until now.
It is unlikely to factor into the Oscars nominations, announced
later this month.
[to top of second column]
Parker was nominated alongside Davis for "Lion," Kelly Fremon Craig
for teen coming-of-age tale "The Edge of Seventeen," Tim Miller for
raunchy superhero action "Deadpool" and Dan Trachtenberg for sci-fi
thriller "10 Cloverfield Lane."
The winners of both categories will be announced at a dinner
ceremony on Feb. 4 in Beverly Hills.
"La La Land," about two struggling artists falling in love against
the backdrop of Hollywood, has emerged as the film to beat this
year, sweeping last week's Golden Globes with seven wins including
best comedy/musical film. It also leads Britain's BAFTA awards with
Notable snubs this year include Martin Scorsese for his 19th century
missionary tale "Silence," Denzel Washington in family drama
"Fences," Mel Gibson for war drama "Hacksaw Ridge" and Tom Ford for
stylistic thriller "Nocturnal Animals."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Alan Crosby)
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