It’s official: 2012 is the year we all learn to pronounce ‘Hazanavicius.’ That’s because Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist, is one of the five people nominated for the Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film by the Directors Guild of America (DGA). The DGA award nominees almost always mirror the Oscar ballot for Best Director, so between this and the PGA nominations announced last week we’ve basically got the final Oscar contention list locked down.

The full nomination list for the DGA awards is Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), David Fincher (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), and Martin Scorsese (Hugo).

Notice the abject lack of Steven Spielberg’s name in that list. I wouldn’t have expected Tintin to garner a Best Director nomination, but War Horse seemed like a safe bet, just on Spielberg’s recognizance. The inclusion of David Fincher makes a certain argument for that approach to the nominations. For those playing along with the Oscar game, this basically boils the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar race down to The Artist, The Descendants, and Midnight in Paris.

This is also the continuation of what has been an unexpectedly triumphant year for Woody Allen. (Who received the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1996.) Midnight in Paris turned into his biggest movie in years, and while I don’t really expect it to take home a wheelbarrow full of Oscar statuettes, I’m not unhappy to see it get the nomination honors.

The 64th annual DGA Awards, hosted by Kelsey Grammar, will be held January 28 in Hollywood. [DGA]

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