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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 07:31 GMT
Foreign nods for directors' award
Baz Luhrmann (r) with Kidman and McGregor
Only one American director has made the nominations list for the influential Directors' Guild of America (DGA) award for outstanding directorial achievement.

Ron Howard was shortlisted for his film A Beautiful Mind and joins New Zealander Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Australian Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) and two Britons Christopher Nolan (Memento) and Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down).

Peter Jackson with star Liv Tyler
Peter Jackson directed Liv Tyler
The winner of the DGA award often goes on to success in the best director category at the Oscars, although last year Ang Lee won the DGA award while Steven Soderbergh took the Academy Award for Traffic.

The winner of the DGA is chosen by the guild's 12,000-plus members.

'Cliche'

Howard told trade newspaper Daily Variety that DGA members had responded to his film because of the filmmaking challenges it represented.

Ridley Scott
Scott had a good year for awards in 2001
"Even though it's a cliche, the nomination is incredibly gratifying because it's your peers,'' Howard said.

He added: "For me, it was the most visually demanding because of trying to personalize John Forbes Nash's journey of the mind from genius to madness to recovery. That required a lot of thought and lost sleep.''

Jackson, speaking from New Zealand, said the key to the success of Lord of the Rings, fast becoming one of the most successful films of all time, was its emotional authenticity.

'Transcend'

"We tried to take the genre and give it a strong emotional element that came first and foremost rather than the special effects.

"I think that helped transcend the genre, because fantasy films are usually left out at awards time.''

Ron Howard
Ron Howard won the Globe for A Beautiful Mind
Both Howard and Scott have received DGA nominations on three previous occasions.

High-profile directors such as Robert Altman and Todd Field were left out despite the acclaim their films Gosford Park and In the Bedroom.

The race for Oscar success is still seen as wide open, as no one film is dominating the other film prizes in the build-up to the Academy Awards on 24 March.

Luhrmann said the nomination was "by far the most meaningful'' recognition he has received so far.

"Directors truly know what directing is, that it's not just moving traffic around,"' he said.

Scott said his nomination was "a great surprise".

"It was a lot of tricky work,'' he said of the production, adding: "The conventions of the three-act drama couldn't really be applied.''

The DGA winner will be announced on 9 March.

See also:

23 Jan 02 | Oscars 2002
Ron Howard's happy days
23 Jan 02 | Film
Directors harbour Oscar hopes
23 Jan 02 | Reviews
Crowe's beautiful film
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