The Director's Guild has announced their five nominees for best director of 2007, and they are: Ethan and Joel Coen for No Country for Old Men; Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton; Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood; Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; and Sean Penn for Into the Wild. For those of you paying attention to the major kudos, that's two different directors than the Hollywood Foreign Press nominated for the Golden Globes. Rather than recognizing Atonement director Joe Wright or American Gangster director Ridley Scott, the Guild has gone with Anderson and Penn.

So, which grouping will be closest to the Oscars? Who cares? I hate that with every announcement about non-Academy-related awards we get a statement like "since ____, only _____ winners have failed to claim the Oscar ... " Well, the fact that there is some divergence means there is no predicting who will get the Oscar nominations, let along the award. So, let's just appreciate the Director's Guild Awards for what they are. That said, I haven't seen all the films (I'm actually about to head out the door to finally catch There Will Be Blood), so I can't fairly pick my favorite. In fact, two of the nominated films that I have seen are so different in style that it's quite difficult for me to decide which I think is more deserving of this honor. Ultimately, despite the fact that I greatly admired Schabel's ability to make a first-person POV-shot engaging throughout the majority of his film, I'd have to go with the Coen Brothers. Except for that one controversial shot, I think they gave us the best visual storytelling of the year and I also think that they managed to get some of the most amazing performances of the year from their actors. However, my mind could easily change in about an hour when I sit down in front of the work of Paul Thomas Anderson. The winner will be announced on January 26.