Cold Mountain director Anthony Minghella has missed out on a nomination for the top prize at the Directors Guild Of America awards.
Peter Jackson has now been nominated three times
Minghella had been expected to feature in the shortlist, which is one of the strongest indications of who will win the Best Director Oscar.
Nominees include Peter Jackson for Return Of The King and Clint Eastwood for Mystic River.
Gary Ross was a surprise nominee for the horse-racing drama Seabiscuit.
"It's a bit of cliche, but it really does mean the most
when (a nomination) comes from your peers," Ross said.
Sofia Coppola's comedy Lost in Translation also received a nomination, alongside Peter Weir for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
Cold Mountain is still an Oscar favourite
Coppola's father, respected director Francis Ford Coppola, previously won a DGA award for The Godfather: Part II.
Peter Jackson became the first director to receive nominations three years in a row, as all of his Lord of the Rings films have now been up for the award.
The guild award is often a good indicator of the best director category at the Academy Awards.
Just six times since 1949 has there been a difference in winners at the two awards, although last year the DGA plumped for Rob Marshall for Chicago while the Oscar went to Roman Polanski for The Pianist.
The Graduate director Mike Nichols will receive the DGA lifetime achievement award at the ceremony on 7 February.
Meanwhile, there was some good news for Minghella's Cold Mountain, which has been chosen as the opening film for the 54th Berlin International Film Festival.
Last year's festival opened with Chicago, which went on to win best picture at the Oscars.
The full line-up of films for the festival, which runs from 5 to 15 February, will be announced towards the end of January.