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"Mad Max: Fury Road," "Revenant" among Directors Guild nominees

A scene from director George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Jasin Boland/Warner Brothers

Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"), Adam McKay ("The Big Short"), and George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road") landed their first nominations from the Directors Guild of America, which today announced its nominees for best feature film direction.

They are joined by Ridley Scott for the science-fiction blockbuster "The Martian," and Alejandro Inarritu for the frontier thriller "The Revenant," each of whom has received three previous DGA nominations. [Scott was honored for "Thelma and Louise," "Gladiator," and "Black Hawk Down"; Inarritu's previous nominations included "Babel" and last year's "Birdman," for which he received the DGA Award.]

The DGA Awards are a closely-watched precursor of Academy Award nominees, to be announced this Thursday.

In an awards season lacking a clear front-runner, the only films to receive nominations from the producer, actor and director guilds are "Spotlight" and "The Big Short." Yet, Inarritu and Scott helmed the movies that won the top prizes at Sunday's Golden Globes, and Miller's post-apocalyptic actioner was a favorite of many critics' groups.

Notably left out by the Directors Guild were Todd Haynes for the period lesbian romance "Carol," and Steven Spielberg for his Cold War tale, "Bridge of Spies."

However, the Academy's directors branch, which has fewer members than the Guild, has often honored directors overlooked by the DGA. Last year, DGA nominee Clint Eastwood ("American Sniper") was skipped in favor of "Foxcatcher"'s Bennett Miller for an Academy Award nomination. (Inarritu won the Best Director Oscar.)

This year, the DGA also added an award for first-time directors. The category's inaugural nominees are: Alex Garland ("Ex Machina"), Joel Edgerton ("The Gift"), Marielle Heller ("Diary of a Teenage Girl"), Laszlo Nemes ("Son of Saul"), and Fernando Coimbra ("A Wolf at the Door").

Directors Guild awards nominees for documentaries, television and commercials will be announced Wednesday.

Winners in all categories will be revealed at a dinner in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, hosted by Jane Lynch.