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Searching For Sugar Man, Queen Of Versailles Are Among Directors Guild Documentary Nominees

Days after the Directors Guild of America singled out the candidates for feature-film nominees – rewarding Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), Ang Lee (Life of Pi) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) – the guild turned its attention to documentary filmmakers … and once again, the term “snub” reared its ugly head.

But first, the nominees (via Deadline). The Directors Guild nominated the following five filmmakers in the Documentary category:

KIRBY DICK, The Invisible WarMALIK BENDJELLOUL, Searching For Sugar ManLAUREN GREENFIELD, The Queen of VersaillesDAVID FRANCE, How To Survive A PlagueALISON KLAYMAN, Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

Remarkably, all five nominees are first-timers. And they are all outstanding selections – and yet, there already is a bit of backlash about the directors who are left out of the category. Comments below the Deadline article single out The Imposter director Bart Layton, while I’m scratching my head how Dror Moreh of The Gatekeepers finds himself on the outside looking in.

The DGA lined up with the Academy Awards on three nominees (Dick, Bendjelloul and France), while overlooking Moreh and the co-directors of 5 Broken Cameras, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi. Does this mean that the winner of the Academy Award next month in the Best Documentary category will come from the three-film short list of Invisible War, Searching for Sugar Man or How to Survive a Plague? The odds are in their favor, and I’d be fine with that. In the meantime, winners for the DGA prizes will be handed out on Feb. 2 during a dinner in Hollywood that will be hosted by Kelsey Grammer.

Sean O'Connell

Movie junkie. Infatuated with comic-book films. ReelBlend cohost. Resident dad. Extroverted introvert. Wants to see the Snyder Cut. Managing Director at CinemaBlend.