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Directors Guild names favorite directors of '07

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Directors Guild of America on Tuesday nominated makers of five films for best director of 2007 in a key stop on the road to the Oscars during one of the wildest awards seasons in recent Hollywood memory.

The guild nominated Paul Thomas Anderson for “There Will Be Blood,” about the rise to wealth of an oil prospector, and Sean Penn with his wilderness adventure “Into the Wild.”

Also making the DGA’s list were brothers Joel and Ethan Coen for their gritty crime drama “No Country for Old Men,” Tony Gilroy for his directorial debut with legal thriller “Michael Clayton” and, finally, painter-turned-director Julian Schnabel for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

“What makes this award truly meaningful to directors is the knowledge that only this one is decided by their peers,” Directors Guild President Michael Apted said in a statement.

The DGA represents the directors of movies and television programs, and annually its awards are a key indicator of which films may compete for the Oscars.

Since the DGA began giving awards for film directing in 1949, only six winners have failed to claim the Oscar as best director in the same year, and the Oscars have a history of giving their top honor, best picture, to the winner of the best director Oscar.

Last year, however, that general link between the DGA and Oscars proved true with Martin Scorsese winning best director at both the DGA and Oscars, and his movie, “The Departed” also winning the best film Oscar.

The 2007 movie year has seen one of the wildest and most unpredictable Hollywood awards seasons in recent years with a host of critically acclaimed films in the running, such as the latest DGA nominees and others including the musical “Sweeney Todd,” wartime drama “Atonement” and teen-pregnancy comedy “Juno.”

Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh