Nominees include Sofia Coppola for Lost In Translation, Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Clint Eastwood for Mystic River, Gary Ross for Seabiscuit and Peter Weir for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
"I offer my hearty congratulations to all the nominees for their outstanding achievements," DGA President Michael Apted said after the announcement. "These five individuals and their films clearly demonstrate how a director's skill, when combined with vision, can create excellence in filmmaking."
The DGA Awards are often seen as a barometer for who will win the Academy Award for Best Director. All but six DGA Award winners have gone on to win the coveted Oscar in the last 55 years.
Last year proved to be one of those exceptions. The DGA gave its highest honor to Rob Marshall for the stage to screen musical Chicago instead of Roman Polanski who went on to win the Oscar for the holocaust drama The Pianist.
The DGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also deviated in 1968, 1972, 1985 and more recently in 1995 when the DGA awarded Ron Howard for his direction of Apollo 13. The Oscar that year went to Mel Gibson for Braveheart.
The 56th annual DGA Awards will be handed out Feb. 7 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, Calif.--just three weeks ahead of the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 29.